Youth Forward Scholarship 2017 – Matthew and Adrianna

Name: Lizeth Galindo Roman
From: San Jose, California
Grade: 11
School: KIPP San Jose Collegiate
Votes: 0

The summer of my junior year my mother pushed me to volunteer at an organization
called “Somos Mayfair”. Somos Mayfair, is a non-profit
organization that works with low income families in disadvantaged
communities to give them a voice despite systemic inequities. Somos
Mayfair unites families by teaching them relationship building and
communication, guides families through the education system, and
works with students to help them improve academically. At first, I
was a bit hesitant and found myself secluded to the desk and
answering calls. As time went by, I slowly began to get to know the
families. I met Matthew, an 3rd grader, who had to work to help his
family. I met Adrianna, an 4th grader, who had a fiery passion for
reading. As I grew close to the families and kids, I realized that
not everyone has the same educational and social opportunities. Even
though, I come from a background similar to the families, I have
opportunities that not everyone else did. For example, I was
fortunate enough to attend KIPP, a school that cares about its
students and has high expectations. Such an opportunity was not a
reality for many of the kids because of the neighborhoods in which
they lived. This new found awareness motivated me to become for
invested in the families of Somos Mayfair.

By the end of the summer, I became much more involved and even volunteered to help
plan the graduation for the children who finished the reading program
to help children who were not reading at their corresponding grade
level. I took the initiative to call local colleges for donations. I
also wanted to encourage parent involvement so I organized tasks for
the parents. A memory I will never forget is the faces of parents as
they watched their beloved children in graduations gowns, walking
across the stage, and receiving a diploma. I knew they were thinking
about their kid’s future and their motivation to pursue higher
education. The parents reminded me of my single, immigrant mother who
is making an effort so that I can be the first one in the family to
graduate from college. By volunteering, I gained organizational,
leadership, and managing skills. However, more importantly, I
discovered that inequity is real and disproportionately affecting a
specific group of people. I also discovered that I’m no different
from the families that I met. We all have several setbacks in life
but nevertheless, with the right resources and support, many things
can be accomplished. I will continue to pursue my goal of going to
college to study Astronomy. I will also continue to be a resource
for communities like mine.

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