• All Posts,  Expressions of Gratitude,  Meet SLI Scholars,  SLI in Richmond

    Meet Osvaldo, SLI scholar

    Huguenot High School ’25

    SLI for me..bundles you up with wisdom. The program is great and provides an enrichment of knowledge and opportunities, some of which would have been unimaginable coming from a first-generation Mexican household. There is a lot to gain from this amazing program, they prepare you to get into college as well as to know how to survive within college, never leaving you alone. Guidance never fails to be present in this program as they always make sure to show you the correct path in all circumstances. I am very thankful for [teacher and SLI program director] Ms. Orellana since she introduced me to this incredible program where I met the charismatic Professor Peter Kaufman [SLI founder and program director]! I am also really thankful for him. Thank you so much to the extraordinary SLI team that made all impossible dreams possible, none of this would’ve been possible without you all.

    After high school I picture myself attending college while taking courses that support my dream of being an actor. I’d also like to take business courses. 

    Well-recognized YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, better known as Mr. Beast, has always been a huge inspiration for me ever since I was young, and is now someone I look up to. He has a lot of given traits that make him someone bright, such as his humorous personality. Despite him being a multimillionaire he gives back to the most needed communities or just complete strangers he finds at any location no matter what. I would also like to open my own YouTube channel in the near future to be able to spread my fun personality along with giving back to those who need help in many communities. 

    Since day one my family has always been beside me pushing me to strive for the best. I have learned how to be an individual full of discipline, respect, and humbleness thanks to my parents. I have and continue to receive a bundling amount of motivation throughout my academic journey which really reflected the support my family has always carried on me. Though I make mistakes, a lot of them, I am reminded to try to perform the best I can even when committing tiny errors. Fun is a must when my sisters and I do anything together. My family constantly emphasizes how they are my biggest fans when it comes to my dream of being an actor. I will continue to work hard to make them proud.

    My parents immigrated from Mexico to Richmond, Virginia, where I was born. I am Mexican-American as well as the only male child in my household. Anytime I get stressed I head for my soccer ball. Playing soccer outside is also one of my get-away passions.

  • All Posts,  Expressions of Gratitude,  Meet SLI Scholars,  SLI in Richmond

    College update: Angela, SLI scholar

    Huguenot High School ’19
    Shenandoah University ’22 (communication media, Spanish, cinematography)

    Read Angela’s reflection of gratitude here

    Three years ago I was a girl with many ambitions and visions in mind. Today I am just months away from achieving that beloved goal that many of us set for ourselves but not all of us have the opportunity or the discipline to finish: to have a university degree, to have a different future from our immigrant parents. 

    Originally I was supposed to graduate one year from now, but thanks to my commitment I have been able to advance in certain classes, which will allow me to graduate early with a double degree. 

    As a university student, SLI has been a fundamental program in my life, since it has obviously given me support in every way and has helped me develop many areas of my life, both academically and personally. At the beginning of my career one of my goals was always to finish everything that I started, from assignments to internships. I challenged myself to improve my English, and I was able to attend tutoring. 

    I am extremely grateful for everything I have achieved both in my academic life and in my personal life. As an independent student, I have faced a difficult financial situation that has pushed me to leave my comfort zone and work daily to be able to keep up with my university and personal expenses. 

    I am motivated to stand out from the ordinary. My verbal skills have allowed me to communicate with character when asking for help or advice. My early maturity and independence have taught me to appreciate the smallest things in life. 

    Being independent at such a young age is difficult, but it is a great blessing to feel proud of myself and of everything I have achieved, and of what I am about to achieve.

    Angela also shared about her SLI experiences in virtual Meet SLI events in 2020 and 2021, and in this reflection of gratitude.

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    College update: Irais, SLI scholar

    George Wythe High School ’20
    Eastern Mennonite University ’24 (history, social work)

    College comes with many challenges and opportunities and also many experiences. I have learned many things in college, but the most important is that our actions determine our results, and that the future we create depends upon the choices and actions we take today. 

    I am thankful for all the help I have received from SLI. Everyone has dreams and goals, and SLI scholarships make things easier for many students. 

    I want the opportunity to give my best to the people I will help in the future after I graduate from college. Life sometimes can be hard but I always try to find solutions to the problems and to stay motivated when things get difficult. I believe that this always helps me and will help me in the future if I face a problem. 

    I have a strong character that helps me in tough situations and this helps me to help others. I like to read and write articles about the issues that the world faces daily. This can have a big impact on people, and I can have the opportunity to further develop this talent by taking English writing courses.

  • All Posts,  Expressions of Gratitude,  SLI in Winchester

    A letter of gratitude from Raquel, SLI scholar

    Dear SLI Community of Support,

    Ever since I was a child my mother has encouraged my brothers and me to get an education even though we had little money and few options. She instilled within us the importance of education.

    I struggled a lot with English when I first arrived in the U.S., which caused many issues as I couldn’t understand what was going on in class. However, with time and lots of hard work I overcame that barrier and got straight A’s for the majority of my classes. 

    One of my favorite parts of being in SLI was going to read to little kids who were struggling with reading. It felt amazing to be able to help the kids, as I had once been one of them.

    I’m currently studying for a computer science degree, as programming has always been a topic of great interest for me. Thanks to your support, SLI has greatly helped many of my classmates and me be able to pay for college.

    Sincerely,
    Raquel
    John Handley High School ’21
    Laurel Ridge Community College

  • Ariel 2022
    All Posts,  Expressions of Gratitude,  SLI in Richmond

    A letter of gratitude from Ariel, SLI scholar

    Dear SLI Community of Support,

    As a SLI scholar alumnus, I want to express my gratitude to you for your support.

    As an immigrant student, my personal and academic journey has taught me a lot about resilience and persistence. With the help of SLI and even as an English learner in high school, I was able to rank 10th in my class. Now as an undergraduate student in college, I have been on the dean’s list since my first year. 

    Participating in SLI helped me gain vital soft and hard skills that prepared me for my academic career. Additionally, I was able to improve and excel in leadership skills, participating in state-level events and competitions such as the Virginia Future Business Leaders of America and Virginia Boys State of the American Legion.

    After earning a college degree I want to become a politician or policy analyst. I will serve my community, specifically the helpless and unprotected people, the ones fighting the odds of socioeconomic, cultural, and even immigration situations, the ones suffering inequality and injustices. 

    Your support for SLI helps young Latinx students with incredible potential who will give back to their communities, and overall, the entire nation. As is often said, “We cannot help everyone – but everyone can help someone.” If we have the possibility to contribute to a good cause, why should we abstain from doing it? By helping someone, or in this case SLI, we help ourselves in the long run.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    Ariel
    Huguenot High School ’20
    Eastern Mennonite University ’24

    Photo credit: Eastern Mennonite University

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    SLI scholars share joy and gratitude during the Great Community Give

    “What brings you joy?” Watch SLI scholars Guadalupe, Israel, Amy, Rosely, and Gabriela share in this video for the Community Foundation of Harrisonburg and Rockingham’s Great Community Give:

    During the campaign 39 donors contributed $9,350 to SLI’s mission to support Latino/a/x high school students with college access through rigorous academic challenge, leadership development, scholarships, and supportive mentorships. Thank you!

  • Janefer
    All Posts,  Expressions of Gratitude,  SLI in Harrisonburg

    A letter of gratitude from Janefer, SLI scholar

    Dear SLI Community of Support,

    As a SLI scholar, I want to express my gratitude to you for your support for Scholars Latino Initiative.

    Growing up, education was always the first thing. If I would arrive home with a grade below an A, my mother would always tell me, “You need to try harder in order to be able to qualify for scholarships and go to college.” Due to my mother’s hard work of raising me correctly, I was accepted to SLI my freshman year. 

    I am pushing myself to receive a degree in honor of my mother. She wanted everything in education but unfortunately she couldn’t afford it, so she crossed the border for me and my future and that has no price. 

    My college goals are to successfully receive my associate and high school degrees and then continue in a four-year university, attend dental school, and become a successful orthodontist. I will be successful for my mother and those hard working parents who crossed the border for their families. 

    Besides being beneficial to college, SLI has helped me become more outgoing and know what it’s like to help our community, especially those in need. Through community service, SLI scholars help elementary children, adults, homeless people and other people in need in many different ways. We can make a change as high school students. SLI has also helped me become more independent, go my own way, and make a fundraising activity to help us raise money for those who actually are in need. 

    SLI understands how difficult it is for Latino families to contribute to their children’s education, and produces new opportunities for Latinx students facing struggles during the college process. SLI opens new doors by not only helping us pay our dual enrollment tuition to obtain college credits while in high school, but also by challenging us to serve the community without receiving anything back. It is our choice to help, and we do it with much love and dedication. 

    Thank you.

    Sincerely, 
    Janefer
    Harrisonburg High School ’22

  • All Posts,  Expressions of Gratitude,  SLI in Winchester

    Thank you! from Everth, SLI scholar

    Thank you. To everyone. To everyone who I have met along every step of my journey, and to everyone who has given me so many opportunities to become a better student, and a better person in general, thank you. Thank you to everyone who has supported SLI because if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have been able to be part of such a wonderful program.

    SLI will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I hope that in the future, I can have the opportunity to become a mentor as well. I wish I could find the words to express how grateful I am but the truth is that I can’t. However, to everyone who has been a part of SLI, I just wanted to let you know that all the effort, time, and sacrifice that you all have placed into this organization has not been in vain.

    All that you have done for me as well as for my sister, we have not taken for granted. Thank you.

    Everth
    John Handley High School ’21
    Shenandoah University ’25
    Read more and hear Everth share during Meet SLI – Winchester

  • Meybelline
    All Posts,  Expressions of Gratitude,  SLI in Richmond

    Thank you! from Meybelline, SLI scholar

    My family and I are very grateful for the SLI computer award. Yesterday my mom and I went to buy the computer I needed for my first year at Virginia Union University. As of today, I will start a few of my classes virtually, and the computer will be a great help (I am emailing you from it).

    I am beyond thankful for this opportunity. My mother works really hard to support me and my sister in everything she can. She’s a strong, amazing woman, always supporting us and being there for us. This award was a blessing for me and we are very thankful.

    Best regards,
    Meybelline and family
    Huguenot High School ’21
    Virginia Union University ’25

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