NORTH HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) --Cool Kid and high school senior Juliane Martinez spends her extra time volunteering at New Horizons, a nonprofit in North Hills devoted to empowering individuals with special needs.
"I wanted to make a change (and) help in any way possible, which is always my goal in life," Martinez said.
After teaching others to read and helping on art projects, the men and women in the program have become like family to her.
"I used to be a shy person myself. So them opening up to me and me being able to open up to them was really nice," Martinez said.
New Horizons interim CEO, Roschell Ashley, expressed her joy in having Martinez dedicate her time to volunteer.
"She has just a wonderful amount of caring, learning and is just very creative," Ashley said. "Everyone is benefiting from that."
The 17-year-old High Tech Los Angeles student also helps in the cafe alongside clients with special needs who are undergoing culinary training.
Baked cookies are planned to be sold at local grocery stores with proceeds going toward programs and services at the nonprofit.
In her six months at New Horizons, Martinez has insisted that she personally benefits greatly as the experience has prepared her for college.
"Knowing how happy they are basically impacted me more and made me know more that I want to be a psychologist," Martinez said. "This is what I want to do, help others in any way."