Corpus Christi (KIII News) — This Thanksgiving week, one Corpus Christi nonprofit received a donation from someone who they helped overcome obstacles in life and succeed.

Avner Schroeder is almost in his 30s and is a solid example of someone who chose to excel or go to jail.

"As a young student we had moved from Laredo, Texas, to Corpus, and my siblings and I had problems with drug addictions," Schroeder said.

"Avner was a dropout when I met him," HELP Founder Ridge Hammons said. "Here he is. Got his own business. Giving back."

11 years ago Schroeder met Hammons and learned about HELP, a nonprofit that takes at-risk kids in school and puts them in a job site to see if they have what it takes to succeed.

"What it is, is an anti-dropout program. You give a kid a reason to be in school, and he'll be there even through the tough times," Hammons said.

According to Hammons, HELP focuses hard on 17- to 18-year-olds.

After joining HELP and touring various job sites, Schroeder developed the skills he needed to ultimately start his heating and air condition business. On Monday, Schroeder was donating money to Hammons and his program.

"I wanted to invest in this program knowing they're putting the money to great use," Schroeder said.

Schroeder said he plans to give back every year in any way he can. He also had some advice for anyone struggling to finish school.

"Be persistent, not to give up. Sometimes life can get very difficult. It's not the problems you go through, but how you go through them," Schroeder said.

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