In this week’s “I Am HISD,” which features district students, graduates, employees, volunteers, and other team members, probation officer Juan Sorto talks about what prompted him to become a member of HISD’s Volunteers in Public Schools, why he is so passionate about working with students in the North Forest area, and who inspired him to reach for greatness as a child.
You approached HISD several years ago with a very specific request: to volunteer in schools that used to be part of North Forest ISD. Why was serving students in that part of town so important to you?
I moved to the North Forest area in 2001, and I still live there today. It has a lot of students who are in the same situation I was as a kid. They are growing up in the same condition—poverty. I was raised by a single mother who didn’t know any English and barely finished the second grade, and I was the first person in my family to graduate from high school and go to college. When I finally reached a level where I was stable in life and had a disposable income, I wanted to get more involved with kids who were struggling themselves but maybe didn’t know how to succeed.