14 community Latinos and only two corporations provided the $12,000 in total awards. This is an encouraging trend because back during the 1980’s the entire scholarship support was by local businesses. Is this indicative of a transition in the local Latino community? I hope so because if those assisted by the American GI Forum Scholarship Foundation, Inc. (est. 1974) were to contribute by mail only $100 per year, the total would be $100 X 1,600 past recipients, which would amount to $160,000 (assuming 100% participation).
This is a very good trend because it lets our Latino students know that their own community is really supportive of their continuing education.
It is time for parents. School staff, especially counselors to encourage Latino youth who show an interest in STEAM to develop that interest with acquired information, knowledge and experience. The past ‘farmworker’ profiles no longer apply though there are many who consider Mexican braceros to be very suited to stop labor farm work (i.e., campesinos). We are capable of more than farm and services labor.
Today access to money is often a factor. Money is your license to perform, produce, and consume. It may be borrowed, which involves an interest rate (the rental cost of loans). Be very careful with ‘student loans’ because the best terms are provided by the Federal Government and many foundations. Try to find ones wherein the loan is forgiven if you agree to serve in an ‘underserved area’. And do evaluate the prevailing income of the career you undertake.
LEARN TO KNOW YOUR WORTH IN THE LABOR MAKETPLACE. The U.S. Department of Labor publishes average annual salaries for many jobs. Go to a business library. It is a good idea to do this before you go to a job interview. Know what annual wage level your profession may command.
Take a personal business approach to ‘going to college. To do what you propose to do, project your plans five years into the future. Estimate your total income and expenses. Learn to be a good steward of your personal business. Learn that your assets, both tangible and intangible, minus the debts incurred determine your net worth. This effort will inform you about the cash flow you will need. You need to prepare yourself for payment of tuition, fees, books, room and board, clothing, travel, health insurance and some recreation. Going to college allows you appreciate how protected from financial concerns you were by your parents as they ‘raised you’. Learn the definition of a contract; to negotiate; to ask questions which, when answered, provide you with the information you need to make reasonable informed decisions in your own interests. Know that your future professional degree is an ‘intangible asset’ whose future value is based on knowledge and skills learned.
By accepting this scholarship aid, you are entering into a moral obligation to ‘give forward into the future’. This means that in your future, you will volunteer to be a mentor, advisor, counselor, and role model to an aspiring person. When you earn more than $50,000 per year, plan to contribute $100 per year for ten years to a local scholarship foundation such as the SJ GI Forum Scholarship Foundation, Inc. Return to the community the assistance you were provided.
Look around on the job to see who is the decision maker; get that person to be your mentor and role model. WHY? Because it is decision makers who change society and commerce by undertaking one of several proposals, and deciding to implement that one with staffing, equipment, and funding. And that is how things get changed. Keep in touch to help your extended family continue to be proud of you and to know how you are progressing in your life’s journey.
Develop your ability to communicate precisely and effectively in both English and Spanish languages. Understand that English is the language of science, technology, business and our government in America. However your Spanish language connects you to your historical heritage, its culture, values, and therefore your identity as a Latino. The Latinos experience is rich and has contributed much to the current modern era through its diversity, music, and joyful lifestyle.
PREPARE TO GO THROUGH THE DOORS OF OPPORTUNITY. THESE DOORS ARE OPEN TO THOSE WHO PREPARE IN ADVANCE AND SLAM SHUT FOR THOSE WHO ARE UNPREPARED. CREATE YOUR OWN GOOD FORTUNES BY BECOMING WELL INFORMED. SO GO DO IT AND GOOD LUCK