Growing up, I didn’t know if there was a difference in my family compared to others. New Mexico is full of Latino culture, without me even realizing it was there. I learned a sense of family. It doesn’t matter if you are family or friends, everyone is family and you help one another. As a teenager I remember visiting friends and helping their family make tamales. I was welcomed like any other family member. That’s how it always was.
We danced. We ate. We were family. I had/have cousins all over town, more than I even know. Regardless of how often or seldom that we saw each other, we are family. I have some cousins I haven’t seen or even talked to in years, but when we do see each other, we are there for each other. They know if they need anything, I will always be there for them, just as they would be for me.
My parents never went to college, or graduated high school for that matter. My aunts and uncles are the same. Education has always been put on the back burner because taking care of your family has always been first priority. Latino families stick together and often leave their own goals and dreams to ensure their family is cared for.
I started working when I turned 16 years old. I worked through high school and into college. I was lucky to be able to get high school credit for my job, knocking out two birds with one stone! When I got to college it wasn’t that easy. I was working full time, going to school full time and struggling to find time to study. I never thought I had a chance at any scholarships, so I never applied. I didn’t know I could start applying for scholarships early on. No one ever told me.
Coca Cola wants to help Latino youth and ensure they receive their degrees. For over 30 years, Coca Cola has worked with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, helping them to reach their goal of having a college degree in every Latino household by 2025. Through the Uncap Their Future Scholarship Program, more than $300,000 in scholarships will be awarded!
Now through October 31, 2012, students 16 years and older are encouraged to apply via the HSF application. They will be asked three thought-provoking questions:
- Students must reflect on how their heritage affects their career goals.
- The importance of education in their lives.
- Their community service experiences
Hurry and share this information with all students (and parents of students) that are 16 and older! You only have a few days left to apply!
Disclosure: This post was written in collaboration with Coca Cola and Latina Bloggers Connect. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.