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Renata Barona

1385

Bold Points

1x

Nominee

1x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

As kids, everyone tells you that you can be whatever you want to be; which eventually causes enormous heartbreak when you realize that being an enchanted Mermaid is never going to happen. The only thing I have always known is that I want to help others. Early in my sophomore year, I realized that I still needed a PE credit for graduation, but because of my heart disease, I was not able to participate in sports. My counselor told me about an amazing program my school offers called "Peer Coaching" where I would receive PE credit while being partnered with a Special Needs student. My partner had significant motor challenges that made it difficult for him to walk more than a few steps at a time. I saw my partner struggle to place one foot in front of the other, but I never left his side. After many months, my partner was able to walk almost the full width of the gym with little assistance; I was as excited as he was. I knew where I belonged. I want to continue to be part of extraordinary events that help change lives. Education is my first choice of major with the goal of becoming a Special Education teacher. Education is a major key to success in life, and if I can be a part of someone else's success, I can help make the world a better place. Ultimately, I would like to partner with other specialists who advocate for students with Special Education needs in order to break down social, physical, and cognitive barriers.

Education

The University of Texas at Tyler

Bachelor's degree program
2020 - 2024
  • Majors:
    • Cognitive Psychology and Psycholinguistics
  • Minors:
    • Audiology/Audiologist and Speech-Language Pathology/Pathologist

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Special Needs Psychology and Therapy

    • Dream career goals:

      I would like to be a Non- profit leader and encourage people with certain disabilities to integrate to society in an easy and nondiscriminatory way

    • Host at the main restaurant

      great wolf lodge
      2019 – 2019

    Sports

    horseback riding

    Present

    Public services

    • Advocacy

      independent — I made a bake sale in order to use the money to pay for heart surgeries.
      2010 – Present
    • Volunteering

      independent — I planned activities to keep them active
      2018 – 2020

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Community Service is Key Scholarship
    At the age of nine, I was diagnosed with an aneurysm in the aorta which required surgery and a month-long hospitalization. I was treated at a government hospital, and though it was one of the best in Mexico City, I witnessed poverty, hunger, and malnutrition there. I lived in Mexico City for fifteen years but had never really seen extreme poverty until that time. Families were charged based on income and some only made 1000 pesos a month (about $50). People traveled from all over Mexico to get the medical attention they needed, and when they got to the hospital their families had no place to stay and no money for food. I wanted to help. I came up with the idea of a bake sale to raise money because in Mexico we are known for showing love through our food. After selling all 956 brownies and 1543 gummy lollipops, the money we earned was enough to cover the cost of several surgeries for those in need. Afterward, my mom and I started a fundraiser called “De Corazón a Corazón” (from the heart to the heart), which paid for many surgeries. The first person I helped was Monica, and after her surgery, Monica's family called me to say that they had some money left over that they wanted to give back; they still needed money for medicine and transportation, so instead of returning any money, I asked them to help with the cooking of the brownies. So, every year when the bake sale started again, more people gathered together to cook. This is one of the greatest achievements of my life because what started as one of the scariest moments in my life led to the possibility of saving lives. The more money I was able to make on the bake sale, the more surgeries I could pay, and the more people I could impact. The most amazing moment throughout this experience was when I told the families in need that their surgery was being paid for. Their facial expressions at that exact moment showed me true appreciation and happiness and the fact that I was able to do that for them was the most satisfying feeling I have ever felt. My goal with this project is to show my community that working together and putting your heart into something can accomplish great things. Furthermore, I want to continue helping my community through education, communication, and equality. For my career, I want to focus on special needs and find ways to incorporate them into the working and changing world to increase opportunities in their lives. I believe that if everyone contributes to a cause we can all succeed and work together to change the world and impact people's lives.
    Snap Finance “Funding the Future” Scholarship
    I lived in Mexico City for fifteen years but had never really seen extreme poverty until that time. Families were charged based on income and some only made 1000 pesos a month (about $50 USD). People traveled from all over Mexico to get the medical attention they needed, and when they got to the hospital their families had no place to stay and no money for food. I wanted to help. I came up with the idea of a bake sale to raise money because in Mexico we are known for showing love through our food. After selling all 956 brownies and 1543 gummy lollipops, the money we earned was enough to cover the cost of several surgeries for those in need. Afterward, my mom and I started a fundraiser called “De Corazón a Corazón” (from heart-to-heart), which paid for many surgeries. The first person I helped was Monica, and after her surgery, Monica's family called me to say that they had some money left over that they wanted to give back; they still needed money for medicine and transportation, so instead of returning any money, I asked them to help with the cooking of the brownies. So, every year when the bake sale started again, more people gathered to cook. This is one of the greatest achievements of my life because what started as one of the scariest moments in my life led to the possibility of saving lives. As kids, everyone tells you that you can be whatever you want to be, which eventually causes enormous heartbreak when you realize that being an enchanted Mermaid is never going to happen. The only thing I have always known is that I want to help others. Early in my sophomore year, I realized that I still needed a PE credit for graduation, but because of my heart disease, I was not able to participate in sports. My counselor told me about an amazing program my school offers called "Peer Coaching" where I would receive PE credit while being partnered with a Special Needs student. My partner had significant motor challenges that made it difficult for him to walk more than a few steps at a time. I saw my partner struggle to place one foot in front of the other, but I never left his side. After many months, my partner was able to walk almost the full width of the gym with little assistance; I was as excited as he was. I knew where I belonged. I want to continue to be part of extraordinary events that help change lives. Psychology is my first choice of major with the goal of becoming a Special Needs therapist. Ultimately, I would like to partner with other specialists who advocate for people with Special Needs to break down social, physical, and cognitive barriers. My academic studies will contribute to my personal and professional life goals because I want to make the world a more accessible place for others and break down stereotypes that are harmful to others in both, physical and mental ways.
    Pandemic's Box Scholarship
    For many, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the worst time of their lives; losing jobs, relatives, friends, and the ability to go out without being scared of catching a virus. While this pandemic has affected me in some negative ways, it has also affected me in various positive ones as well. I know it sounds crazy, but it actually allowed me to have some time to focus on myself and on what I want and who I want in my life. I want to work with special needs people and integrate them into society in a more equal way and show the world not to base themselves on stereotypes. Furthermore, this pandemic has allowed me to spend more time with my family and become closer to one another. Before the pandemic, my mother and stepfather would go out to work while I was in school and some nights, they would come back from work until 9 pm. The pandemic has allowed my parents to spend more time with each other and with me. It has been a wonderful experience because now we have more time to be together. We have been able to cook, laugh, and play together more than any time before. This pandemic has also allowed us to save money which has been really good. Because everything was closed and there was no way to go out and spend money, we were able to save more money and focus on getting rid of the debt my parents have.
    Luv Michael Impact Scholarship for Autism Acceptance Advocacy
    My future career involves working with people with down syndrome, autism, and other special abilities. Throughout the past years, I have been involved in the Special Education community by volunteering at the Special Olympics and classes. It has been a wonderful experience that changed my life and made me sure of what I want to do for my future career. I will focus on double majoring in Psychology and Communication Sciences and Disabilities which focuses on a wide variety of problems in speech, language, and hearing. My goal is to try and make the world a more inclusive place and ten years from now, I see myself finishing my Ph.D., and on the way to becoming one of the best special needs therapists. I want to make a change in the world and integrate people with special abilities into society and abolish the negative stigma society has portrayed in these individuals. I want to open a clinic where I help people with special needs form relationships and teach them how to be independent and care for themselves. I want to show the world that people with special abilities are as capable as any other person in the world. I want to join the Luv Michael Volunteer Program in order to continue advocating for people with special abilities.
    Ocho Cares Artistry Scholarship
    Being an artist is all about expressing yourself and share your ideas and feeling with the world without the necessity of using words. I first started drawing when I was hospitalized at the age of nine due to heart surgery. I was at the hospital for about a month and while it was one of the best hospitals for heart problems, it was a government hospital in Mexico City and the facilities were not in the best shape. Also, there were very few things to do in a hospital, so my main form of entertainment was to draw. Through my drawings I expressed myself and I showed how I felt during the days I stayed at the hospital. Some days were good where no procedures were made, those days I drew things with lots of color and life, but other days, when I got poked by needles, I drew shady, dark pencil drawings. My emotions drive me to paint and create things, and every time I open my book and I see my art; I feel happy because all the sadness I felt while creating that drawing, is gone. It becomes stuck in a piece of paper frozen in time where my emotions can be free. My drawings are connected to myself from the moment the pencil touches the paper because at that exact moment, my emotions unwind and all the fear, sadness, and anger leaves my body rushing through the movements of my wrist as I quickly move the pencil through the paper not knowing what I will create until the very last moment where I stop and see my creation. My art helped me express my emotions in the hardest and most painful moments of my life and I wish to help other people who are also struggling in life. I want to show people that art reflects a person's persona, it builds character and, most importantly, it tells a story. Art can help future generations understand history, life, and even people's emotions through color, texture, and what the art piece represents. For me, art is a way to show yourself without speaking any words and if we project this idea where we teach the future generations to express themselves through art, it can completely change the way people see one another and change the world because I firmly believe that art shows a side of everyone that they might not know about themselves. Finally, I don't think someone needs to be a good artist to make a change as long as they are passionate about the change they want to make.
    "Your Success" Youssef Scholarship
    My future career involves working with people with down syndrome, autism, and other special abilities. Throughout the past years, I have been involved in the Special Education community by volunteering at the Special Olympics and classes. It has been a wonderful experience that changed my life and made me sure of what I want to do for my future career. I will focus on double majoring in Psychology and Communication Sciences and Disabilities which focuses on a wide variety of problems in speech, language, and hearing. My goal is to try and make the world a more inclusive place and ten years from now, I see myself finishing my Ph.D., and on the way to becoming one of the best special needs therapists. I want to make a change in the world and integrate people with special abilities into society and abolish the negative stigma society has portrayed in these individuals. I want to open a clinic where I help people with special needs form relationships and teach them how to be independent and care for themselves. I am passionate about positive change in the world and helping others because I believe that when everyone works together, things can change for the better. I want to pursue higher education because I want to be taken seriously by the society we live in and to do this, I need and want to continue my studies and earn higher degrees because education is a major key for success. My studies will allow me to form part of someone else's success and if I can be part of someone else's success, I can make the world a better place. I consider myself a person who is passionate about helping others and finding ways to integrate equality into our everyday life. The past year has shown me more than anything that the world is changing rapidly and that some people are still not ready for those changes. I am an active advocate for the LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, and women empowerment communities and I wish nothing more than to teach equality for the future generation in order to be part of something bigger and encourage those generations to avoid making the mistakes that were done in the past and not let history repeat itself. Ten years from now I see myself having a beautiful family and teaching my kids about the importance of respect and equality in a society because it is not the world you leave to your children, but the children you leave to the world that will make a difference. I want to show the world that people with special abilities are as capable as any other person in the world, but to accomplish my dreams of helping others, I am in desperate need of a scholarship to continue and further my education and help people in the future.
    WCEJ Thornton Foundation Low-Income Scholarship
    Winner
    At the age of nine, I was diagnosed with an aneurysm in the aorta which required surgery and a month-long hospitalization. I was treated at a government hospital, and though it was one of the best in Mexico City, I witnessed poverty, hunger, and malnutrition there. I lived in Mexico City for fifteen years but had never really seen extreme poverty until that time. Families were charged based on income and some only made 1000 pesos a month (about $50). People traveled from all over Mexico to get the medical attention they needed, and when they got to the hospital their families had no place to stay and no money for food. I wanted to help. I came up with the idea of a bake sale to raise money because in Mexico we are known for showing love through our food. After selling all 956 brownies and 1543 gummy lollipops, the money we earned was enough to cover the cost of several surgeries for those in need. Afterward, my mom and I started a fundraiser called “De Corazón a Corazón” (from the heart to the heart), which paid for many surgeries. The first person I helped was Monica, and after her surgery, Monica's family called me to say that they had some money left over that they wanted to give back; they still needed money for medicine and transportation, so instead of returning any money, I asked them to help with the cooking of the brownies. So every year when the bake sale started again, more people gathered together to cook. This is one of the greatest achievements of my life because what started as one of the scariest moments in my life led to the possibility of saving lives. This experience showed me I was stronger than I thought I was and it showed me that when people work together, many things can be accomplished. Furthermore, my future career involves working with people with down syndrome, autism, and other special abilities. Throughout the past years, I have been involved in the Special Education community by volunteering at the Special Olympics and classes. It has been a wonderful experience that changed my life and made me sure of what I want to do for my future career. I will focus on double majoring in Psychology and Communication Sciences and Disabilities which focuses on a wide variety of problems in speech, language, and hearing. My goal is to try and make the world a more inclusive place and ten years from now, I see myself finishing my Ph.D., and on the way to becoming one of the best special needs therapists. I want to make a change in the world and integrate people with special abilities into society and abolish the negative stigma society has portrayed in these individuals. I want to open a clinic where I help people with special needs form relationships and teach them how to be independent and care for themselves. Finally, I see myself having a beautiful family and teaching my kids about the importance of respect and equality in a society because it is not the world you leave to your children, but the children you leave to the world that will make a difference. I want to show the world that people with special abilities are as capable as any other person in the world, but to accomplish my dreams of helping others, I am in desperate need of a scholarship to continue and further my education and help people in the future.
    Little Bundle Superdad Scholarship — College Award
    At the age of nine, I was diagnosed with an aneurysm in the aorta which required surgery and a month-long hospitalization. I was treated at a government hospital, and though it was one of the best in Mexico City, I witnessed poverty, hunger, and malnutrition there. I lived in Mexico City for fifteen years but had never really seen extreme poverty until that time. Families were charged based on income and some only made 1000 pesos a month (about $50 USD). People traveled from all over Mexico to get the medical attention they needed, and when they got to the hospital their families had no place to stay and no money for food. I wanted to help. I came up with the idea of a bake sale to raise money because in Mexico we are known for showing love through our food. After selling all 956 brownies and 1543 gummy lollipops, the money we earned was enough to cover the cost of several surgeries for those in need. Afterward, my mom and I started a fundraiser called “De Corazón a Corazón” (from heart-to-heart), which paid for many surgeries. The first person I helped was Monica, and after her surgery, Monica's family called me to say that they had some money left over that they wanted to give back; they still needed money for medicine and transportation, so instead of returning any money, I asked them to help with the cooking of the brownies. So, every year when the bake sale started again, more people gathered together to cook. This is one of the greatest achievements of my life because what started as one of the scariest moments in my life led to the possibility of saving lives. As kids, everyone tells you that you can be whatever you want to be, which eventually causes enormous heartbreak when you realize that being an enchanted Mermaid is never going to happen. The only thing I have always known is that I want to help others. Early in my sophomore year, I realized that I still needed a PE credit for graduation, but because of my heart disease, I was not able to participate in sports. My counselor told me about an amazing program my school offers called "Peer Coaching" where I would receive PE credit while being partnered with a Special Needs student. My partner had significant motor challenges that made it difficult for him to walk more than a few steps at a time. I saw my partner struggle to place one foot in front of the other, but I never left his side. After many months, my partner was able to walk almost the full width of the gym with little assistance; I was as excited as he was. I knew where I belonged. I want to continue to be part of extraordinary events that help change lives. Psychology is my first choice of major with the goal of becoming a Special Needs Therapist. Ultimately, I would like to partner with other specialists who advocate for students with Special Education needs to break down social, physical, and cognitive barriers. Furthermore, my future career involves working with people with down syndrome, autism, and other special abilities. Throughout the past years, I have been involved in the Special Education community by volunteering at the Special Olympics and classes. It has been a wonderful experience that changed my life and made me sure of what I want to do for my future career. I will focus on double majoring in Psychology and Communication Sciences and Disabilities which focuses on a wide variety of problems in speech, language, and hearing. My goal is to try and make the world a more inclusive place and ten years from now, I see myself finishing my Ph.D., and on the way to becoming one of the best special needs therapists. I want to make a change in the world and integrate people with special abilities into society and abolish the negative stigma society has portrayed in these individuals. I want to open a clinic where I help people with special needs form relationships and teach them how to be independent and care for themselves. Finally, I see myself having a beautiful family and teaching my kids about the importance of respect and equality in a society because it is not the world you leave to your children, but the children you leave to the world that will make a difference. I want to show the world that people with special abilities are as capable as any other person in the world, but to accomplish my dreams of helping others, I am in desperate need of a scholarship to continue and further my education and help people in the future.
    JuJu Foundation Scholarship
    At the age of nine, I was diagnosed with an aneurysm in the aorta which required surgery and a month-long hospitalization. I was treated at a government hospital, and though it was one of the best in Mexico City, I witnessed poverty, hunger, and malnutrition there. I lived in Mexico City for fifteen years but had never really seen extreme poverty until that time. Families were charged based on income and some only made 1000 pesos a month (about $50 USD). People traveled from all over Mexico to get the medical attention they needed, and when they got to the hospital their families had no place to stay and no money for food. I wanted to help. I came up with the idea of a bake sale to raise money because in Mexico we are known for showing love through our food. After selling all 956 brownies and 1543 gummy lollipops, the money we earned was enough to cover the cost of several surgeries for those in need. Afterward, my mom and I started a fundraiser called “De Corazón a Corazón” (from heart-to-heart), which paid for many surgeries. The first person I helped was Monica, and after her surgery, Monica's family called me to say that they had some money left over that they wanted to give back; they still needed money for medicine and transportation, so instead of returning any money, I asked them to help with the cooking of the brownies. So, every year when the bake sale started again, more people gathered to cook. This is one of the greatest achievements of my life because what started as one of the scariest moments in my life led to the possibility of saving lives. Each year when I saw the families give back it made me so happy because their efforts helped me pay for more surgeries with each passing year. It is important to give back because it can change lives and it can make a difference in the world. That is what drives me, seeing people happy and work together to improve someone's life and make a change. My greatest inspiration is people because I believe that everyone has good in them and I think that change is always possible if we all work together. Furthermore, my future career involves working with people with down syndrome, autism, and other special abilities. Throughout the past years, I have been involved in the Special Education community by volunteering at the Special Olympics and classes. It has been a wonderful experience that changed my life and made me sure of what I want to do for my future career. I will focus on double majoring in Psychology and Communication Sciences and Disabilities which focuses on a wide variety of problems in speech, language, and hearing. College is expensive and my parents are not able to help me financially. I am kindly asking for a scholarship in order to achieve my dream of studying and help others in the future.
    Bold Moments No-Essay Scholarship
    Working with horses is a very difficult thing to do. For starters, you are working together with a half-ton animal and you are trusting each other to do the correct movements at a precise time. I know what people think when I tell them that my exercise consists of horseback riding, "that is not a sport" they claim, but those who have been on a horse and ridden the proper way, know what an excellent exercise it is, and how dangerous it can become. In this picture, I am trying a new trick where I stand while the horse moves.
    Art of Giving Scholarship
    My life took a turn when my mom re-married and we moved to the United States when I was 15, for starters, my mom couldn't work here which became a huge financial struggle because I never knew how hard the process to go to college in the U.S. is. Regardless of our financial status, my mom pushed me and made sure I was getting the help I needed. When I received my acceptance letter for college, I was very happy, but after viewing what I would have to pay for tuition and housing, I froze. I started looking into financial aid, scholarships, grants, and more, but I had no success. I was getting so frustrated that I resorted to the last option and took out a loan. Right now, this scared me the most as I am a 19-year-old freshman in college with a student loan debt of more than $20,000 dollars. My plan at once was to work during college to pay for the loan, but with the pandemic, that plan got ruined; however, I am not going to let this fear paralyze me because if there is something that I have learned in life is that I should never give up and whenever a door closes, a window opens. My financial struggles are real, but my desire to study and succeed in a career to help others are more and they are bigger than ever. Throughout my life, I have always struggled with money, but if there is something that I have learned from this experience is to persevere, look for other options, and never take anything for granted. What made my mom able to continue working and support me was the fact that she had a degree and I wish nothing more than that for me too, to be able to make a future for myself and my future family and without a scholarship, I will not be able to continue my studies.
    Maida Brkanovic Memorial Scholarship
    Being born in El Paso, Texas, on the 4th of July symbolized one thing and one thing only: I was a “most American” person. I was born in America, but as soon as the doctors let us out of the hospital, I moved with my parents to Mexico City where I was raised. Even though we had many significant celebrations in Mexico, I never had the chance to experience a big July 4th barbeque in our backyard, since July 4th was just another ordinary day in Mexico. It all changed at the age of 15 when my mom told me that my stepdad was transferred to an office in Dallas, Texas. Considering that Mexico and America are neighboring countries, I naively did not expect to suffer any sort of culture shock. But when I moved, I remember feeling like a foreigner even though I acted and dressed the same way as everyone else in my classes. I started high school unaware of the expectations and traditions in this country, and even the process of something as simple as choosing my classes was quite different than what I was accustomed to. In Mexico, students’ classes were assigned automatically, with no options to choose designations such as Advanced Placement or Honors classes. Additionally, sports were not emphasized at my school in Mexico, and we most definitely didn't have pep rallies and football games--I was completely amazed when I saw my first football game at the high school. The jumping, screaming, and cheering in the student section next to the 300 members of the band was exhilarating, but what amazed me the most was what happened after the game: Whataburger. Going to Whataburger after every game was almost mandatory as it was the only decent place open after ten o’clock at night. It offered me a time to laugh, tell stories, and make great connections with friends that I will treasure for life. Traditions are not learned overnight, however. It took nearly three full years of high school before I acclimated to my new country and experienced Homecoming mums that were as big as I was, the glamor of prom, and learning how to drive on ice. I had to get used to stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things because, despite being born in America, I really knew almost nothing about the culture. Just as I learned new traditions, I had the pleasure of teaching others mine. Many of my friends initially believed that Mexico had chickens roaming the streets everywhere, that people rode donkeys, and that we wore big sombreros on a day-to-day basis. They were so surprised to hear that Mexico City is one of the closest cosmopolitan cities to Dallas and that I was completely bilingual. I taught my friends about true Mexican food like Valentina salsa with chips and shared one of our best cultural traditions: the kiss on the cheek, which is a fancy way to say hello and goodbye to friends and family. The fact is, if there are 100 people in a room, you are going to kiss on the cheek every single person in that room since that is viewed as the polite thing to do. Because I was raised that way, when I got to Dallas I automatically leaned in to kiss new acquaintances on the cheek. Often they were only expecting a friendly handshake, which makes for many awkward moments. Once, I kissed a boy on the cheek; he blushed and said he didn't "feel the same way." Confused, I explained the kiss. After we had a big laugh about it, he became one of my best friends and my most faithful instructor of all things American. He was the student who introduced me to Whataburger in the first place. Many people ask me if I identify more as a Mexican or as an American. Three years ago, I would have said, "Mexican", but after living in America, my response has changed to "both," because it is not about choosing one over the other, but how they can coexist in the same space, making me the person I am today.
    Act Locally Scholarship
    At the age of nine, I was diagnosed with an aneurysm in the aorta which required surgery and a month-long hospitalization. I was treated at a government hospital, and though it was one of the best in Mexico City, I witnessed poverty, hunger, and malnutrition there. I lived in Mexico City for fifteen years but had never really seen extreme poverty until that time. Families were charged based on income and some only made 1000 pesos a month (about $50 USD). People traveled from all over Mexico to get the medical attention they needed, and when they got to the hospital their families had no place to stay and no money for food. I wanted to help. I came up with the idea of a bake sale to raise money because in Mexico we are known for showing love through our food. After selling all 956 brownies and 1543 gummy lollipops, the money we earned was enough to cover the cost of several surgeries for those in need. Afterward, my mom and I started a fundraiser called “De Corazón a Corazón” (from heart-to-heart), which paid for many surgeries. The first person I helped was Monica, and after her surgery, Monica's family called me to say that they had some money left over that they wanted to give back; they still needed money for medicine and transportation, so instead of returning any money, I asked them to help with the cooking of the brownies. So, every year when the bake sale started again, more people gathered together to cook. This is one of the greatest achievements of my life because what started as one of the scariest moments in my life led to the possibility of saving lives. As kids, everyone tells you that you can be whatever you want to be, which eventually causes enormous heartbreak when you realize that being an enchanted Mermaid is never going to happen. The only thing I have always known is that I want to help others. Early in my sophomore year, I realized that I still needed a PE credit for graduation, but because of my heart disease, I was not able to participate in sports. My counselor told me about an amazing program my school offers called "Peer Coaching" where I would receive PE credit while being partnered with a Special Needs student. My partner had significant motor challenges that made it difficult for him to walk more than a few steps at a time. I saw my partner struggle to place one foot in front of the other, but I never left his side. After many months, my partner was able to walk almost the full width of the gym with little assistance; I was as excited as he was. I knew where I belonged. I want to continue to be part of extraordinary events that help change lives. Education is my first choice of major with the goal of becoming a Special Education teacher. Education is a major key to success in life, and if I can be a part of someone else's success, I can help make the world a better place. Ultimately, I would like to partner with other specialists who advocate for students with Special Education needs to break down social, physical, and cognitive barriers.
    Abran Arreola Latinx Scholarship
    At the age of nine, I was diagnosed with an aneurysm in the aorta which required surgery and a month-long hospitalization. I was treated at a government hospital, and though it was one of the best in Mexico City, I witnessed poverty, hunger, and malnutrition there. I lived in Mexico City for fifteen years but had never really seen extreme poverty until that time. Families were charged based on income and some only made 1000 pesos a month (about $50). People traveled from all over Mexico to get the medical attention they needed, and when they got to the hospital their families had no place to stay and no money for food. I wanted to help. I came up with the idea of a bake sale to raise money because in Mexico we are known for showing love through our food. After selling all 956 brownies and 1543 gummy lollipops, the money we earned was enough to cover the cost of several surgeries for those in need. Afterward, my mom and I started a fundraiser called “De Corazón a Corazón” (from the heart to heart), which paid for many surgeries. The first person I helped was Monica, and after her surgery, Monica's family called me to say that they had some money left over that they wanted to give back; they still needed money for medicine and transportation, so instead of returning any money, I asked them to help with the cooking of the brownies. So, every year when the bake sale started again, more people gathered together to cook. This is one of the greatest achievements of my life because what started as one of the scariest moments in my life led to the possibility of saving lives. The more money I was able to make on the bake sale, the more surgeries I could pay, and the more people I could impact. The most amazing moment throughout this experience was when I told the families in need that their surgery was being paid for. Their facial expressions at that exact moment showed me true appreciation and happiness and the fact that I was able to do that for them was the most satisfying feeling I have ever felt. My goal with this project is to show my community that working together and putting your heart into something can accomplish great things. Furthermore, I want to continue helping my community through education, communication, and equality. For my career, I want to focus on special needs and find ways to incorporate them into the working and changing world to increase opportunities in their lives. I believe that if everyone contributes to a cause we can all succeed and work together to change the world and impact people's lives.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    As a minority, a woman, and someone who was born with a heart disease; the world has given me many hardships. I was bullied as a little kid because I was never able to run with the kids at lunch time since my heart was too weak and not many people approached me. As a little kid it was frustrating not being able to play with others, and inviting your class to you birthday party with only three people out of 30 showing up. This made me very sad, I was 12 years old at the time. I have seen the devastating consequences of what depression can cause and what bullying can do to someone; one of my friends suffered from depression and sadly is no longer with us today. I felt obsolete for a while, because there was nothing I could have done to stop her from ending her life. Like me, she had a disability which made me connect with her in deeper levels that other kids our age never understood. My goal in life is to help people dealing with emotional baggage to prevent this from happening to other families. I want to be a psychologist which will mainly focus on special needs; I want to work with people under the spectrum including Autism, Down Syndrome, and Motor-compromise disorders so that they wont feel rejected by the world the way that I did. At my 19 years of age, I have learned that the world is a tough place to be in and many people are so close minded that deny everything that doesn't fulfill their standards; this affects everyone around those people which is why I have tried to choose fiends wisely and maintain a positive attitude towards someone can reward you with their truest friendship which is hard to find and easy to loose. Mental health is important in the world and I believe that educating people on the importance of it can help the world a better place by breaking down social, physical, and cognitive barriers.
    Justricia Scholarship for Education
    As kids, everyone tells you that you can be whatever you want to be; which eventually causes enormous heartbreak when you realize that being an enchanted Mermaid is never going to happen.The only thing I have always known is that I want to help others. Early in my sophomore year, I realized that I still needed a PE credit for graduation, but because of my heart disease I was not able to participate in sports. My counselor told me about an amazing program my school offers called "Peer Coaching" where I would receive PE credit while being partnered with a Special Needs student. My partner had significant motor challenges that made it difficult for him to walk more than a few steps at a time. I saw my partner struggle to place one foot in front of the other, but I never left his side. After many months, my partner was able to walk almost the full width of the gym with little assistance; I was as excited as he was. I knew where I belonged. I want to continue to be part of extraordinary events that help change lives. Education is my first choice of major with the goal of becoming a Special Education teacher. Education is a major key to success in life, and if I can be a part of someone else's success, I can help make the world a better place. Ultimately, I would like to partner with other specialists who advocate for students with Special Education needs in order to break down social, physical, and cognitive barriers.
    Nikhil Desai Reflect and Learn COVID-19 Scholarship
    I am a first year college student, I am 19 years old and I never thought I would be dealing with a pandemic in my lifetime. Everything changed for me when COVID-19 happened; for starters I am under the high risk category because of my heart disease and asthma. As soon as COVID-19 started, I was advised to stay at home, for me, it has been 9 months since I have gone out of my house. My mom does the groceries while I wait patiently at home and when she arrives, I help her clean and disinfect everything. Due to the corona virus not only I cannot leave my house, but also I cannot see my friends or family. I missed my great uncle's funeral and it has greatly affected my mental health. I have been more sad this past few months and even though my friends and family call me and I am with my mother at home, I have never feel so lonely in my life. However; this pandemic also helped me realize a lot of things about me and the world. I have learned that not everyone will be the same friend you are to them; sadly, I have lost many friends because I realized that if I don't talk t them, they won't talk to me or even make an effort to reach out. I found new ways to communicate with people, and I learned that I am very fortunate to be able to have family who worries about me. I also learned that I do enjoy a good reading once in a while and that I am really good at drawing which is something I never expected. I am hoping the pandemic ends soon so I can share this newfound talents with the world and help other who have struggled during this pandemic just like me.
    Nikhil Desai "Perspective" Scholarship
    At the age of nine, I was diagnosed with an aneurysm in the aorta which required surgery and a month-long hospitalization. I was treated at a government hospital, and though it was one of the best in Mexico City, I witnessed poverty, hunger, and malnutrition there. I lived in Mexico City for fifteen years but had never really seen extreme poverty until that time. Families were charged based on income and some only made 1000 pesos a month (about $50 USD). People traveled from all over Mexico to get the medical attention they needed, and when they got to the hospital their families had no place to stay and no money for food. I wanted to help. I came up with the idea of a bake sale to raise money because in Mexico we are known for showing love through our food. After selling all 956 brownies and 1543 gummy lollipops, the money we earned was enough to cover the cost of several surgeries for those in need. Afterward, I started a fundraiser called “De Corazón a Corazón” (from heart to heart), which paid for many surgeries. The first person I helped was Monica, and after her surgery, Monica's family called me to say that they had some money left over that they wanted to give back; they still needed money for medicine and transportation, so instead of returning any money, I asked them to help with the cooking of the brownies. So every year when the bake sale started again, more people gathered together to cook. This is one of the greatest achievements of my life because what started as one of the scariest moments in my life led to the possibility of saving lives. Being able to help others in need showed me how giving kindness can be returned and my whole experienced made me realize how fortunate I was of being able to pay a surgery I urgently needed. Furthermore, I realized that while many fundraisers do help a lot of people; there is still a lot of work to be done and with that in mind, I would like to educate people to help one another and realizing that everyone needs to be treated as an equal in order to better the world.