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college, graduation, education, national hispanic fund, coca cola, family, latinos

They Wanted Better For Us

by Deborah Cruz

This is part of a sponsored campaign with DiMe Media and Coca-Cola however, all opinions expressed about the importance of education are my own.

Since I was a tiny little girl of an immigrant father, I was taught that education was going to be my vehicle to success in life. My dad worked in a factory, my parents had six children and my mom stayed home to raise us, we were financially poor but rich in family and love. That’s what I grew up wanting only without so much of the financial struggle. They wanted better for us.

My parents are both very smart but only had a high school education. My dad came from a farming family and my mom came from blue-collar workers in the south. They did the best they could with the cards they were dealt. They were hard workers (still are) and did everything they could to provide their six children with all the necessities but there were not a lot of luxury left over. At the end of every day, my parents were exhausted. They wanted better for us.

I learned, as an adult, that when we were small, my parents felt a lot of frustration and disappointment in not being able to provide us with more opportunities. It didn’t matter to us, not really. We had food in our bellies, a roof over our heads and parents who loved us the best they could. We never had to worry about people using us for the things we had and our parents never had to worry about us taking our belongings for granted, we had to develop strong personalities and learned early on to appreciate everything that we had. I think it played a big part in the worth ethic we have now as adults. They wanted better for us.

My parents wanted us to have everything we wanted in life. They wanted us to work smarter not harder and they wanted us to spend more time enjoying life not just working and living paycheck to paycheck. It was imperative that each of us got a good education only they had no means and no idea of how to pay for it. They wanted better for us.

college, graduation, education, national hispanic fund, coca cola, family, latinos

They taught me from the age of reasoning that education was the great equalizer and no matter if I was a woman, a Latina or from a blue-collar family who lived in the ghetto, I could still grow up to be a doctor, a lawyer or anything else I wanted to be. The only limitation to my success was my own ability to work for it. They wanted better for us.

I knew that if I worked really hard and got the grades, I had the chance to go to school anywhere I wanted to and that meant the chance to be anything I wanted to be. That was a very powerful lesson that they taught me about life in general and it has stuck with me. If I close my eyes, I can still here my mom telling me, “ Where there is a will, there is always a way.” I believed her, even if she didn’t believe it for herself. It is probably the most important lesson they ever taught me. Its what made me the woman I am today.

I knew that an education could help me change my situation. Just because I was born poor or whatever didn’t mean that I had to spend my whole life in that same situation. Just because my parents only had high school educations didn’t mean that’s all I could have. Just because my parents had to make the best of what life gave them, I didn’t have to accept that. They wanted better for us just like all parents do.

I figured out on my own how to go to college. I worked hard for the grades and got accepted to all the schools that I applied to but I still didn’t have the money. I figured out how to apply for financial aid with the help of some of my friends and eventually, I applied for scholarships but I had waited so long that I’d missed most of the deadlines. I didn’t know any better and neither did my parents. They wanted better for us.

Eventually, I settled on a reputable state school because the ivy league schools that I got accepted to didn’t offer enough scholarship funds to cover the tuition and my parents couldn’t afford to even fly me home on holidays. I felt jilted. I had worked my tail off to get accepted to these prestigious schools and then I had no way to pay for it. I compromised my dreams because of money but I made the best of the opportunities that were available to me. I was the first person on either side of my family to ever go to college. I even went on to graduate school. Still, I want better for my children and that’s why I’m preparing now for my girl’s K8 education, which is available via Monte Cassino School.

Coca-Cola’s #ForTheDream program empowers Hispanic families to prepare, plan and pay for their teen’s college education, and inspires Hispanic students to pursue their higher education dreams and become future leaders.

This will prevent parents and students alike from not being caught off guard when the time comes for college. No child should ever have to sacrifice her education goals because of money, especially not when she’s done the work to earn it.

Although college enrollment has increased tremendously during the past two decades, the Latino population lags behind other groups when it comes degrees earned. This might be fueled by financial pressure for some students to support their families before graduation. As part of its commitment to the Hispanic community, Coca-Cola HSF #ForTheDream National Scholarship Program aims to empower Hispanic families to put their teens in the fast track to higher education.

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Coca-Cola understands the importance Hispanic families place on education, and wants to help them prepare, plan and pay for college, while aiding their Latino students achieve higher education. Coca-Cola is coming together again with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to help Hispanic families achieve their college dreams and aspirations, as part of the #ForTheDream National Scholarship Program. Coca-Cola is donating $150,000 to the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to be awarded in college scholarships to qualifying students. Applications are being accepted from January 1 until March 30, 2016. Resources available to help complete it are on the For The Dream microsite.

How are you preparing for your child’s education?[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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[…] READ ALSO: They Wanted Better for Us […]


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