If you live in DuPage County I hope that you were aware that Elmhurst College hosted the fourth annual Dare to Dream event. For those of you who don’t know, the Dare to Dream event is a Latina Conference that focuses on middle school girls to pursue higher education. The event consists of keynote speakers, a college panel, and a career panel for the mothers. For the daughters, the event is centered on a campus tour of the Elmhurst campus and career and campus life workshops. There is also a college fair for both mothers and daughters during their lunches.
First and foremost I have to say that this event presented one of the most animated and easy to listen to speakers. Her name is Dr. Lourdes Ferrer. I have never seen a speaker connect so sincerely with her audience and give clear and concise pointers to become involved in their daughters educational path. She mentioned a few drilling points that really hit home for me. The first was that “education is the base of democracy in the United States to grow the middle class”. The second was that without progress within the social and economic sector we will not have the quality of life that many of us desire. We should not rely on government services, the idea is to always aim for more to be less stressed and live in comfort.
The third point, which was right on the money, is that the U.S.’s “No Child Left Behind” idea continues to move children through grades without making sure if the child is actually learning. Because of this guideline, it is extremely important that parents are involved and are aware of their child’s progress. In contrast to this system, Latin America will keep a child in the same grade until the child has reached the adequate level to move forward, regardless of the child’s age.
Dr. Ferrer also spoke about those who are undocumented. She advised that the education that is obtained in the U.S. can be taken back to any place in the world. You can then apply this knowledge and ideology to wherever you live to make a living or continue your career. In addition to this, she advised that the children should not be the only ones trying to get an education but the mothers should go for it also. This is essential so a gap won’t grow between the now English-speaking child and the Spanish-speaking mother. There are a million points that I wrote down from this one woman, but I will have to share those with you at a later date.
Before Dr. Ferrer , the keynote speaker, Jackie Camacho spoke about her life experiences and her fight to progress in a new country. Jackie, who is close to my age, is someone who I can identify with since we went through similar struggles. It is always inspiring and motivating to listen about someone overcoming their obstacles especially when it consists of life and death. It gives you the message of “if she can do it, why can’t I?”
After these two speakers the mothers were then presented with a college panel. The panel consisted of a moderator and 6 representatives of different schools. I tend to enjoy panels because it opens it up for questions that these mothers need answered. I wasn’t a big fan of the way this particular panel was conducted. I felt in a way that it was rushed and the questions that were formulated in advance weren’t for this particular audience. I was extremely impressed with three of the panelists though; two from IIT and one from Northern Illinois. These women definitely were extremely knowledgeable and knew information that is essential for the Latino community.
AND the part that I was waiting for, the Career Panel, I was unable to attend because I was so sick. L I plan to assist and attend future Dare to Dream Events and if you have a young child or need some type of self-motivation I suggest that you
should get involved and help this great group. Together we will move forward.
In the past year I’ve had a few AHA moments in which I realized why I have been so aggressive with my education and now with my career. I’ve always had a very strong drive to succeed. A drive that not even my family understood, but yet they seem to be very proud of. If you are an avid reader of my blog, then you know that I worked hard to not be considered as another negative statistic in the Latino community. There are too many opportunities here in the U.S. to fall into the bandwagon of gangs and teen pregnancy.
Now that I have reached pretty much reached my educational goals I have this thirst of helping others in the Latino community. Unfortunately, I have found myself stuck in between two worlds that think extremely differently. On one hand I have individuals, who are extremely intelligent, yet they have no clue what it is they want from life. They are the second or third generations of immigrant families. They are American citizens whose families have been here for a long time. These individuals are lucky. They are either supported by their family business, are enabled, a bit spoiled, and in a way consider themselves superior to other Latinos even though they don’t recognize it. Sounds familiar?
On my other hand, I have individuals who have big dreams, also extremely intelligent, have lived in fear all their lives, and now they are “coming out of the shadows” to participate in the war of immigration reform. These individuals I can relate to because they work just as hard as I did and some even harder. They do not complain, but instead absorb and hide their pain and continue to move forward and fight for what they are definitely entitled to, which is a better life.
So here I stand in the middle of these two battle, perplexed because I thought I only had to participate in one war; the war of motivating Latinos to get an education. There is only one main difference between an undocumented and documented individual. Every person, every human being goes through one or a series of life changing events that creates a turning point in their life which defines their very essence on this planet. For those that are undocumented, that turning point comes earlier than most individuals. That turning point may occur when they escaped poverty or a bad situation in their home country that gives them the strength and vigor to become a strong and educated person to assist and support their families. It may occur when they realize they don’t have the same opportunities as an American citizen and choose to fight a capitalist country that is driven to make non-ethical decisions based on its bottom line. Wherever the turning point may occur, it happens at an early age.
For those that are documented and whose families have lived here for decades, their story is different. They are enabled. Their families came here to provide to their children a better life and they have. The problem now is that grandparents/parents/uncles/aunts have fought so hard to provide that better life for later generations that they have facilitated too many alternatives for their children. We see these younger individuals live with their parents longer than past generations. They have no rush to start a college education and in the interim of their “little break” after high school they begin to form families or just plainly “enjoy” life. I see this in my brothers, my cousins, and friends. The fight to want a better life was lost in translation somewhere in their parents fight to live the American Dream and actually winning that battle.
So in my pursuit to try to awaken that “want” of a better life in these 2nd and 3rd generations I kind of get lost. I don’t know how if feels to be enabled. I did not have an easy life. Nothing was ever handed to me. So how can I help? How can I show them that if they do not get their act together as a community we will fail? How can I get through to them that we are in need of Hispanic lawyers, doctors, and educators because the Latino demographic is growing so fast that we are rapidly becoming scarce for leaders in our society/community? If we don’t help ourselves, no one will help us.
As I continue to wonder, think, brainstorm on ideas on how to guide these individuals I am only left to feel that I have a long hard battle in front of me. But I do have to say to these undocumented students obtaining their bachelor’s and master’s, I commend you. I definitely look up to you because you inspire me. You have taken advantage of all the opportunities that you have come across and even if they weren’t visible to the naked eye you sought for them. That is something I wish I could teach to the documented Latino community.
As a community, let’s continue to push to not only make school more affordable for ourselves, but also to get more Latinos in school to have a stronger and more educated community.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund and the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting have announced their scholarship program for the 2012 and 2013 academic year. Scholarships range from $1,500 to $10,000. The application deadline is January 31, 2012. Requirements for this program are as follows:
- Be of Hispanic Heritage
- Be a U.S. Citizen or legal permanent resident in the United States
- Have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
- Have plans to enroll as a full-time student at a U.S. accredited college or university in the Fall of 2012.
- Students must be entering Sophomore, Junior, or Senior year of undergraduate study, or a Master’s degree program.
- Community college students intending to transfer to a 4-yr college or university in the Fall of 2012 are encouraged to apply.
Students must major in the following subjects:
- Business Administration
- Hospitality Management
- Human Resource Management
- International Relations
For the online application please click here http://www.hsf.net/ALPFA.aspx
As many of you Facebookers and followers of the Huffington Post know the petition currently circulating around is motivated to forgive student loans to stimulate the economy. I have to say that I agree. For the second time I will have to request forbearance on the student loans I acquired while getting my Master’s Degree. I will be paying about $600/mo when I am ready to start paying them back. Since I graduated from school in November of last year I have been pushing to get a better paying job both inside my current company and elsewhere. If I don’t get a big break, which the probability seems to be diminishing with the very volatile economy that we are in, I will probably start moving backwards instead of forwards. I have thought about walking away from my home and moving back in with my parents for an attempt to start over and focus on paying my loans. That definitely won’t help the economy and the very disgusting housing market. Nor will it help the extremely greedy mortgage company who is collecting payments on a condo that has dropped about 60% in value since the recession.
I will have extra money though to actually go on vacation, go out to have fun, or even go out shopping. Three things I haven’t done since I went back to school to get the ever so coveted Master’s Degree. For a long time I believed making such an investment in my education will pay itself in the long-run. The doubt has now become was it really worth it to make such an investment if it was going to give me such a hardship for the next 30 years of my life. a in my education is what will eventually ruin my credit and everything I have worked for if something different doesn’t happen. I can either start working an additional to jobs and have absolutely no life or join this petition and request for clemency on over-inflated school tuitions that are definitely not worth the price we pay for.
So will forgiving student loans help the economy? Oh yes! I can go back to saving for that new car I wanted, and get a newer wardrobe, and actually take some of those dream vacations. Yet, at the same time we will probably finish destroying a government that is so massively destroyed by debt and who has yet to figure out that we are so screwed up because we have dedicated our economy to make the rich richer and continue to screw the poor.
I hope that this petition gets somewhere so I can hope for a miracle that one day I will not have to choose to pay my student loans or my mortgage, but actually live the quality of life that I have worked for these last 28 years. I suggest that you sign it to. It does not hurt to support a cause on an issue that has plagued so many. We might have an end result of eliminating a growing demographic of highly educated people poor people has the author of the Huffington Post article so eloquently put it.
Recently on the news, there was talk about DePaul no longer taking test scores such as ACTs and SATs into consideration when applying for admission. Instead they will look at student’s life experiences and other details that make an individual unique. They stated that test scores is not an indicator of how well a student will do in their studies or at least the correlation isn’t as high as people perceive them to be.
I believe this is true. Within the normal realm of things people’s personal experiences is what will make them or break them, regardless of their high test scores or good grades. It’s these experiences that motivate people to become leaders, activists, or to do great at school or to just give up and stay at home. Test scores may indicate a person’s intelligence or knowledge of a particular subject within a certain point of time, but it does not indicate whether this intelligence spins off from their motivation or if it was just done to satisfy the test and move on. Test scores are not indicators of whether a person will continue to stay motivated, but their experiences will be able to give an underlying notion of what they want or what they are passionate about.
I graduated from DePaul at the end of last year. The experiences that I have passed through after that graduation date are what have molded me into the person I am now. The school experience gave me the knowledge I need to become successful, but it is up to me whether I will stay motivated enough and whether I will learn from my experiences to continue down a path of success.
It’s hard to juggle life. When I was younger I figured that as long as I did well in school and continued saving money things would pan out on their own. Unfortunately there are things that you cannot control and that can throw you off your original plan. Factors such as the volatile economy, Mother Nature, sickness, and the people who are closest to you are very uncontrollable. It’s how we surpass these hardships that will define who we are and what we stand for and eventually how successful or unsuccessful we will be.
This though, should not inhibit students to stop studying or not pushing for high grades or test scores. Individually and even as a community we will still need that knowledge to be successful at the profession that we choose. Yet, it is comforting to know that more than just letters on a paper will decide a student’s educational future. In addition to good grades a student’s personal growth in life will also be able to shine.
I strongly believe that a person’s education is the pinnacle of how they will conduct their life in the future. If a person receives poor education then that person will not know about the tools that are available for the quality of life that they choose to strive for. I also believe that since the United States wants a better, safer, and stronger community equal education should be given to all and not only those who can pay for it. When someone is ignored or pushed away it causes problems in a society and as a result hatred and even violence will appear in places that seem extremely safe.
I believe I was lucky to have grown up in Chicago. Life there, along with great guidance from family, friends, soccer coaches, and caring teachers gave me great education. I learned how to love diversity and really cherish the value of living among different types of people. My younger siblings, unfortunately, has not had that same opportunity as I. As we all know, the Latino population has grown significantly and continues to grow at a rapid rate. Therefore, Latinos have begun to migrate to areas that are predominantly populated with those of Caucasian descent. I have to say that it seems like this situation has not been very welcoming by some of the leaders of the community of education or not very well understood.
Being the oldest of my two brothers and sister it’s hard to understand what they are going through when I grew up in a community thatembraced differences. Their high school experience in one of the northern suburbs in Illinois has d e a nightmare and wish they can move to the city. At first I ignored their complaints making the assumption that they missed their friends and would soon gain new ones. That was not the outcome though. This northern suburb did not do well in accommodating these new students, but instead very much discriminated them and even harassed them because they were so different from the rest of their community. No one stood up for them. Instead, other students who had already been marginalized began to hang out with my brothers and showed them the ins and outs of the business of weed.
My sister is the last one left in high school and she has tried her hardest to be transferred out to any school with no success. Her mission for her senior year is to just get done with it and never have to go back again. She is not the only one that feels that way. In addition to this, my parents have been unable to pay her registration fee, which has motivated the school to not send her the class schedule. It makes me mad that a student who already feels like an outcast not only by other students, but also by the school administration now has to deal with an educational system that will only educate those that have the money to register. Yes, I understand that schools need money and the education system is the first to suffer since it is a non for profit organization, but then that’s why it’s a non for profit organization because it is supposed to be doing a greater good for their community. No one should be turned away in a public school system. Especially in a wealthy northern suburb that has more resources than the average Chicago Public School. Therefore, in my opinion, it should be one of the last schools turning anyone away.
Unfortunately, as the economy worsens it seems we begin to mimic those third world countries where only the rich can be educated and those that are struggling because sit back and watch them. For my sister though, I will not let her be pushed. I will help her get through her Senior year and show her that much more is attainabe with the right resources in other areas.
Friday, July 08, 2011 has to be one of the most frustrating days for me. Nothing major occurred. All major catastrophes’ were averted. Yet, I have this great frustration that I just can’t shake away. The start of my day was greeted by the Yahoo! Headline, “Unemployment has risen 9.2 percent as hiring stalls”. According to the article, this information states that the economy will recover painfully slow. Now, I don’t know about the author of this article, but where has everyone been these last couple of years. If you have a job you are probably oblivious to the fact that there is even an issue with the economy. Unfortunately for those who lost their jobs or new graduates who are out on the prowl in the job market are safe to say that this is no longer the land of opportunities, but the land of not enough opportunities. Unemployment is rising in such a manner that it’s not keeping up with the growing population.
So as I drove to an HACE networking event I asked myself whether it was really worth it to plunge into a massive amount of debt, an amount that is now more than what I owe on my condo. As I was in deep in thought my tire blew out. $500, of which I do not have gone in a matter of seconds or better said, added onto my debt of shame. Frustrated, sitting in the tire shop my mind was racing. I remember asking a few recruiters for advice to become a financial analyst and I was told that I should start sitting for the CFA to be taking seriously. Is that where my first error occurred? Should I have totally dismissed obtaining my MBA from DePaul and just went straight to taking the CFA? Is it then overrated to go to grad school? Or should it not be considered for those that want to become financial analysts?
It’s so difficult to assimilate that about 4 years ago I was signing the purchase of my condo and now I may be in danger of losing it because I cannot find a job that can support my degree. I heard that Obama reads ten letters a day from us little people. So I ask him to read this and tell me where did I go wrong? Yes, I’ve made my own personal mistakes, but I feel that I have educated myself enough to pull myself out of those mistakes and it’s just not happening. The high unemployment rate has been on its longest streak since the 1930s. What are we doing wrong as a nation? I feel that the benefits I should be reaping from my hard work were stolen by the greedy that approved bad mortgage loans, hyped bad investments, and promoted credit cards with large lines of credit and heavy fees to make a quick buck. We should go back to these people and take back what the very much undeservingly took to help those that are in major need of a new beginning.
So how do I move away from this path? I always thought that at this point in my life I would be sharing my experiences on how I helped others achieve their goals and donating a portion of my salary to charities. Never did I think I would be pushed down by a factor that I cannot even control.
I was read an article a while back on Yahoo! about the preacher Harold Camping. Don’t worry your safe. I am not going to go into an in depth discussion on when the world is going to end. In reading the article though, one detail did very much amaze me. In 2009, Camping’s not-for-profit Family Radio reported to the IRS that it received $18.3 million in donations. His organization also reported assets of $104 million, which included $34 million in publicly traded securities. I don’t know about you, but I’m completely astonished that people would donate such a significant amount of money on an organization that lives on the advertisement of the end of life. In my opinion, instead of focusing on when the world is going to end or “the
rapture”, focus should be on how to make this world a bit more livable. The focus should be set on eliminating hatred, creating opportunities for the underprivileged, and helping those who can’t help themselves.
Advertising the end of the world with 5000 billboards is a bit upsetting. Millions of dollars were wasted, in my opinion. It’s money that could have been used for education, for the sick, for the homeless, or for the hungry. So many natural disasters have occurred around the world. The money could have been used to put people’s lives back together again. It could have been used to rebuild forests, jungles, and cool down the earth. We live on such an unstable planet where we hope we can push down the unemployment rate, where we think it’s correct to both idolize and destroy the famous. People are not going to be saved because you believe the rapture will occur or because they spoke loudly of it. Nor will you stay to rot on earth if you mocked the idea.
It’s hard to define what a truly good person is. The bible itself says that as humans we are no one to judge. Yet, it does anger me when I read articles about governors slashing school funding because of the uncontrollable debt that they may have. Why can Harold Camping raise $18.3 in donations and have his organization prosper, but yet the community lets the education system be limited in its prosperity. I am unsure what Camping’s uses the funds for, so I could be overreacting, but our entire nation should analyze
what we are doing wrong here. We should be feeding our educational system
because after all our children’s futures are at stake here.
One of the most heartbreaking things in my life has been that my two younger brothers and younger sister did not follow in my footsteps. My two brothers dropped out of high school and my little sister is in danger of not graduating. In part, I think it’s my fault. Maybe I needed to be there a little bit more for them. To tutor them. To guide them. To encourage them. I became so lost in my own little world that I couldn’t see what was happening around me. My little sister, who I feel is very talented, feels like I abandoned her when I moved out of my parent’s house. She was still in middle school at the time. I feel that I deserve to absorb some of the blame since they didn’t get the same education as I.
As a result, I have been searching for ways to help them. It’s a bit more difficult for my brothers since they are in their 20’s now. For my little sister though, I think it may be easier.
In my search for help I found the Latino Education Alliance (LEA). Per their website their “mission is to provide educational support for Latino students”. Their “primary goals are to promote education in the Latino community and improve graduation rates...” Per LEA, Hispanics drop pout of school between 8th and 9th grade, which is just astonishing to me. At that age I was excited to move to play soccer in high school. LEA also state’s that students suffer from emotional problems, which I find to be very true from my personal experiences. In regards to emotional problems, LEA works with each individual student to find out what exactly he/she needs to move forward.
My first step on my mission to help my siblings is to contact LEA for guidance. I’m actually pretty ecstatic that an organization like this exists. To know that someone out there can help is pretty comforting. In addition, as a community we need to help each other grow and utilize our capabilities and fulfill our potential. In my opinion, everyone can succeed. You just need a little motivation from others to keep moving forward. If you would like to know more about LEA their contact information is below. It’s important to support the good things in our community.
Latino Education Alliance
UIC SCE Rm 604
750 S. Halsted St
Per my previous blog, one of the biggest complaints of going to school is the amount of money it literally squeezes out of your pocket. I will be honest, while I was trying to get my undergraduate degree I received a few notices that threatened to kick me out if I didn’t pay within a certain period of time. That was probably the first time I ever really felt stressed out. Mainly because it was my parents dream for me to graduate from college, but they weren’t really assisting me in making the payments. What was even more frustrating is that they didn’t let me dorm either. So I ended up taking the train for two hours and walking a third just to get to school. I don’t know what kept me so motivated. I think it was the desire to just be better prepared for the future. Something my parents have very much struggled with.
I don’t want anyone else to struggle like I have. I really would like the college experience to be awesome for more Latinos instead of a struggle or a mission. So I have begun to search for as many scholarships that I can find. I will continue to post them on my website as I find them. If there are any out there that you do not see on my list please go to the feedback tab and shoot me the information so I can post it or comment on this blog. Scholarships are not only based on school merit or on how much your parents make. There are scholarships for everyone out there; you just have to find them.
Do keep in mind that the first thing you should do when figuring out how to fund your education is to fill out your FAFSA. Also, most schools offer scholarships for minorities in an effort to create diversity.