As I read through every single application, I couldn’t help but try and hold back tears. Every story, every answer, every goal, resonated so deeply with me. Over 300 entries and almost every single answer included the sacrifices by generations before us to allow us the opportunities they never had.
I’ve read stories of dad’s waking up before the sun and coming home late at night, just to be able to keep the lights on and provide food on the table.
Stories about moms working to take care of other people’s children instead of their own to make just enough money to bring back to their families.
This hits close to home because I remember our dad; the man who learns everything on the first try, who finds a solution to everything, who fixes literally every broken thing around the house or our cars, and who is one of the smartest people I know; work graveyard shifts and miss many important occasions in the lives of his kids because he needed to provide for his family. He was never even given the chance to go to school past 2nd grade and I can only imagine what could have been if he was given the opportunity to go to college.
In their stories of their moms, I see our mom, who dedicated her entire life to her husband and children, and now her grandkids. Who now wants for her granddaughters and myself, a life full of independence and goals far beyond what she was allowed to dream of for herself.
And in every applicant I see myself; a Mexican-American with goals, perseverance, and ambition to become more than just another statistic in this country. Every story depicts the tenacity of our people, the will to not let our parents’ sacrifices be in vain… and not only to better ourselves, but to help further our community as a whole by being the example and change we want to see in the world.
The recipients that were chosen for the grant are all go-getters, people who do not let the circumstances they were brought up in define who they are in a negative way, instead they are choosing to motivate them to help themselves AND their communities and people. Determined, goal-oriented, and hungry for change, they are the future of this country and those who will be examples for future generations of Mexican-Americans and Latinos.
“The great aim of education is not knowledge, but ACTION.” What we decide to do with it is what matters, and it’s so inspiring how our people don’t complain; we work hard to change the status quo.
Congratulations to the recipients and thank you to everyone who submitted and shared this opportunity! We are hoping to making this an annual thing and we look forward to help many, many others in any way that we can.
Also, a special thank you to Shannon (@shannyvelasco) who donated an additional $250 for another recipient!
Here are the 5 recipients:
Janet Garcia @janet_jay17
Vanessa Reyes-Romero @van3y
America Rodriguez @amrdz20
Diana Rodriguez-Preciado @rodriguezpdee
Analy Ayala @analyayala