At St. Vincent de Paul, we believe every young person deserves the chance for a bright future. Unfortunately for many, financial burdens or other obstacles make it impossible to pursue a college education. This is why SVdP’s ‘One At a Time’ scholarship program was founded. This program assists with tuition costs and mentors each student through their college career. Since its infancy, the ‘One At a Time’ scholarship program has assisted over 60 students in attaining a college degree. Reflecting on this incredible feat, we have asked Jennefer Garcia, a current 'One At A Time' student, to share her story of success.
"Throughout our lives we develop many dreams, goals, and aspirations that seem impossible to attain. We grow up debating whether we want to become the next accountant, lawyer, or entrepreneur, never realizing the journey it will take. For the first 18 years of my life I always knew I wanted to go to college. I wanted to be able to build a better life for myself and my parents. Going to college was the answer to my dreams and aspirations, but as a Latina first generation student I had no idea how I was going to accomplish that goal. I decided to take this challenge as nothing more than an obstacle that I would have to overcome in order to reach my goal, instead of making it an excuse of why I could not complete a college degree. After reaching out for help, my high school counselor directed me to St. Vincent de Paul and little did I know it would change my life.
To me, St. Vincent de Paul means opportunity, hope and faith. The St. Vincent de Paul Society is so selflessly dedicated to helping its community members when no one else will, supporting individuals like myself to become the next best generation. With their ‘One At a Time’ Scholarship Program they are changing lives one student at a time. I am beyond blessed to call myself a ‘One At a Time’ student.
The program has financially assisted me in funding my college education while giving me the tools I need to succeed. Additionally, the ‘One at A Time’ Program has given me the opportunity to have a personal mentor, Lisa Autino. This program reflects the ideals of genuine help and support. The mentors and program coordinator truly believe in us; supporting us through the easy and hard times, never judging us for being imperfect college students.
Lisa, my mentor has influenced my life in many ways. She has been with me throughout my college journey assisting me with any and every question I have had. I am thankful for the relationship I have with my mentor because she not only guides me to staying on track to graduate but also genuinely supports me and pushes me to be better. My freshman year in college I was granted a study abroad scholarship through ASU and she was so supportive in me pursuing that dream. Many doubted that I would be able to study abroad because I was a first-generation student, but Lisa encouraged me to keep going, pushing me to finding the resources I needed to help me accomplish my goal.
By my Junior year in college I embarked my study abroad experience, accomplishing one of my childhood dreams to travel to Europe. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imaged that I would be spending my fall 2016 semester studying at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain. Without my mentor’s supportive spirit and words of wisdom, I cannot image where I would be today.
As my senior year at Arizona State University comes to an end I cannot thank St. Vincent de Paul and the ‘One At a Time’ program enough. I will be graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing, a minor in Criminal Justice and a certificate in International Business. They have truly changed my life, influencing and shaping me to be the person I am today. I have been blessed with the opportunity to further my education and grow personally. I have learned to stay humble, to be grateful and generous with others. I have learned to stay true to what I believe my values, and being proud of my roots because they are what define me as a person. St. Vincent de Paul and ‘One At a Time’ program have changed my perspective in life by viewing challenges as nothing more than a task, and allowing me to stay hungry and curious."
If you would like to learn more about our 'One At A Time' Scholarship Program and how you can help, please email MQuinonez@svdpaz.org.
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