From an Intern: RDF Celebrates the Hopes of Dreamers

From an Intern: RDF Celebrates the Hopes of Dreamers

The Raza Development Fund was proud to celebrate the 17 students we supported through the Parsons’ Dreamers Scholarship application process with a reception last week. This scholarship, funded by The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, in collaboration with Grand Canyon University, fully covers tuition for these DACA students providing an opportunity that will ultimately change their lives.

As the semester began, we gathered at GCU to honor the recipients for their accomplishment of receiving the Parsons’ Dreamers scholarship award. Learn more about their hopes and dreams in the video below.

In my journey as an RDF intern, I was given the opportunity to connect with some recipients on a deeper level, like Lucila Gomez.

Lucila Gomez receives her scholarship award.

She first heard about the scholarship on RDF’s Facebook page and knew she had to apply.

“I opened my eyes so wide … This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Lucila says. “When I got the scholarship, I didn’t know what to feel. I was excited, scared, anxious and everything at the same time, but more than anything grateful to Grand Canyon University, to Raza Development Fund and to God because you know it’s all through Him that everything’s coming together for me.”

After hearing their goals, aspirations, and how this scholarship had directly impacted not only their lives but their families as well, I knew how important getting an education was to them. As a college student myself, I had indulged into the college life, I knew that education was important, but seeing how important it was to these recipients and how if it wasn’t for this scholarship, they may not have been able to pursue their education allowed me to really appreciate organizations such as the Raza Development Fund and The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation for helping their community.

Seeing how many of the recipients were very emotional at the reception as if they thought this opportunity would never reach them, reminded me that this award was not just handed to them, but it was earned and well deserved.

Recipient Perla Lopez

“It was a blessing. The scholarship took a lot of pressure off my parents’ backs. They sacrificed a lot to get me and my brother where we’re at right now,” says recipient Perla Lopez Anchondo. “Because of this, we’re not going to have to be breaking our backs to get through college and we’re going to actually have two graduates in our family, so it means quite a lot.”

Each individual student has their own unique story, has gone through their own hardships, and has their own goals. To apply, students were required to be an incoming freshman or transfer student with a GPA of 2.8 or above and have a DACA ID Card number or confirmation they have begun the DACA application process. From over 240 applicants, 100 students (17 of which were referred by RDF) will attend the Fall 2021 semester at GCU with the support system of the Parsons’ Dreamers Scholarship – a tuition waiver for up to eight semesters.

They are even encouraged to stay in touch with each other through their program Students Inspire Students. As part of the scholarship, GCU will provide support to these students throughout their education, as well as volunteer opportunities that will afford networking and connection to the community to ensure they reach their goals.

RDF was proud to sponsor a reception for the recipients.

It was very inspiring to see those fresh out of high school jump into such a commitment like college and it was also inspiring to see those returning to finish their degree. I especially want to acknowledge the parents that received this scholarship as they were already working full time jobs and being a parent to their children, they still found the time and willingness to go back to school to follow their dreams.

As I mentioned, I am a college student and every semester, we students are hit with a financial barrier called tuition just to continue our education and pursue our desired career. However, through the Parsons’ Dreamers Scholarship, these students were able to be relieved of the financial burden that prevents many other students from receiving a secondary education. If anything gets taken away from this, I hope those who feel prevented, unable, or even just stuck in-between, due to college tuition, are only inspired to apply to every scholarship that they can in order to pursue their dreams much like these recipients did.

The Parsons’ Dreamers Scholarship has allowed students to not only further their education but will open many doors to new opportunities that will last them a lifetime. I was personally very honored to have met each recipient and very thankful for the Raza Development Fund and The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation to invest into our future.