Education is a passion of mine, as it was for my father. This is one of the reasons why I support the Boys and Girls Club of Central Orange Coast. To encourage students to get an education, I ran an Interact group at Saddleback High School, (the High School version of Rotary). I wanted students to know the opportunities out there for them. I wanted them to know there is a reason to attend college. I believe education can change the world. In helping one of Interact Students get into college, I discovered the difficulties that exist for a kid with limited support.
Most of my students came from first generation Hispanic families. Juan was one of my students. I got to know Juan through the three years in the program. Juan, because of the speakers in the Interact meetings, knew he wanted a college education. His mother was in South American and his father was not part of Juan’s life. In the US, he lived with family who were not supportive. He was a smart, happy young man, despite his circumstances. For Juan, the application process for college was a challenge which was impossible for him to overcome on his own.
When Juan went to apply at a local college, the registration office made a mistake on his social security number. Juan could not attend the college until his social security number was fixed. At first I thought he was making excuses. The second year, when Juan told me his social security number was not fixed, I admit, I struggled to believe him. Finally, I went with Juan to the college. Juan and I sat with a counselor, who apologized for the mistake and assured us it would be corrected.
The following semester, Juan’s social security number had not been fixed. Mad and frustrated, Juan and I visited the college together. This time we went directly to the registrar’s office. I stood in front of the registration window, and loudly exclaimed that I was not going to leave until they fixed Juan’s social security number. Somehow, they were able to fix the problem in twenty minutes. Juan registered for his first college level classes.
It is because of my experience helping Juan, that I am so passionate about the Boys and Girls Club of Central Orange Coast’s College Bound program. The club works with youth while they are in high school, to ensure that the students have sufficient college prep courses, and help with the application process. There should never be a Juan out there with no help or hope of going to college. However, there are many boys and girls just like Juan. We must help those who want to get an education, for education to change the world