HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – We have an inspiring story about two Holyoke teenagers overcoming domestic hardship to earn recognition in their classrooms.

22News is working for you with what perseverance and community support can accomplish.

The Holyoke School Department has honored Merlandie Pierre and George Rivera with rising star awards for their scholastic achievements this year. Merlandi-who was born in Haiti Graduated from Holyoke High school. George graduated from Veritas Prep. They were both homeless, but the Center for Human Development provided shelter for their families-allowing these young people to focus on their education.

“Everybody has been helping me at the shelter, and in my sophomore year how I wanted my life to be helped, how I wanted to turn out.,” said Merlandie Pierre.

“My mom was homeless and I would stay at some friends’ homes. Good holiday for us,” said George Rivera.

But the nonprofit social service agency, Center for Human Development brought stability to the lives of these young people, affecting the lives of their families among many others now living in their shelter and housing division.

“it’s incredible, we have 290 families we work with. And it’s truly an example of hardship. Their determination in how they overcome these things and their challenges,” said Pedro