50 Years. 50 Stories., Community Stories

Story 33: Eden’s Scholarship Recipients Want to Make a Difference

July 9, 2018

Eden Housing awarded 52 scholarships in 2018, to help residents of all ages to pursue their academic and career dreams. Scholarship recipients come from a wide variety of backgrounds and regions throughout California, yet many share a common dream—to achieve an education that allows them to give back to others.

Rosa is attending the University of Southern California with aspirations to become an immigration lawyer. The daughter of immigrant parents, her goal is to make a positive change in her community by helping reduce fear.“I want to raise awareness in my community that they should not have to endure any sort of abuse or violence simply because of their documentation status,” she says.

Anna is attending Cal State Monterey Bay, pursuing a B.A. in Social Work and her Master’s degree next. She’s a busy woman—attending school full-time, raising four children and working as a foster youth advocate and restaurant manager. “I want to become a voice and a resource for youth that find themselves lost, mere statistics in the system,” says Anna. “I believe that we all have an obligation to care for one another.”

Cyril is attending Saddleback College in Cinema/Television/Radio. Her goal is to be a documentary filmmaker and journalist, while also using her web design skills to publish and market video content online. “Aside from my career, I hope to be able to offer my services for free to underserved individuals and communities whose voices need to be heard…I believe in the power of storytelling to reach people,” says Cyril.

Alexiss is pursuing a B.A. in Health & Human Services with a Minor in American Sign Language (ASL) at San Diego State University. She is fluent in English, Spanish and ASL. “Both of these careers (social worker and interpreter) provide a service which is something I want to do. I want to help deaf citizens to achieve their goals and also help end the deaf and dumb stereotype,” she says.

Maria attends Santa Rosa Junior College and plans to transfer to Sonoma State University. She is completing her Associate degree in Radiologic Technology and also pursuing her Medical Interpreter License and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She works part-time at a local hospital and as a volunteer at a surgery clinic. “I have many more goals to reach and I’m hoping my financial status will not affect my path to success,” says Maria.

Jose is pursuing a B.A. in Sociology at Sonoma State to become a Social Worker. He appreciates the support that he received through Eden’s after school program, learning computer skills. “When in the future I am an established successful adult, I will do my part and give back to people who are in the same position I am in right now,” he says.

Katherine (pictured with her brother Louis and their parents) is attending San Francisco State University full-time to become a Registered Nurse. She sets high goals for herself and is willing to work hard to achieve them—juggling homework, a part-time job, volunteer work and extracurricular activities. According to Katherine, “I was raised to be humble, but also to be a fighter when it comes to reaching my goals.”

Luis will complete his Bachelor’s degree at Cal State University East Bay in June 2019. He wants to become a college professor or a journalist. Diagnosed with autism as a young boy, Luis has overcome many challenges to achieve his goals. “Being a college student has helped me to grow more independent as a leader… so that once I enter the job field, I will have a great effect on every challenge I face,” says Luis.

Prior to living at Eden, Elizabeth thought college was a luxury and financial burden for her low-income family. That has all changed now. Elizabeth is pursuing a degree in Animal Science and Management at the University of California, Davis. She also works at an animal sanctuary. According to Elizabeth, “Farm animals are more than just food, they’re joyful, kind, intelligent creatures that deserve so much more than enslavement. That’s why I am dedicating my life to opening a sanctuary.”

Safi’s family escaped the war in Somalia by fleeing to Ethiopia, and then later to the United States. After moving to Eden Housing, Safi took advantage of the homework help at the on-site computer lab (and now still uses the computers to complete college assignments). Today she attends Foothill-De Anza Community College with a plan to transfer to San Jose State. Her dream is to work in counseling or human resources where she can be of help to others.

The Howard T. Collins Memorial Scholarship Program at Eden Housing was created to honor a former board member who was known for his passion for justice and tireless work for the underprivileged. How wonderful that these scholarships not only support the educational and economic advancement of Eden residents, but also inspire them to give back to their communities.

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