A Guardian Angel Provides Academic Security for Yolanda
By Robin Loving Rowland
Dear readers, you might remember the story of Yolanda Jazmin Luna Rubio, one of six children of a campo family who decided they would put all of their resources into getting her to university in order to get the family out of poverty. When a work-related accident earlier in the year took the life of her father, she offered to drop out of school, where she was intent on becoming a petroleum engineer to create a better world for Mexicans, Indians, and Africans. Her mother wouldn’t hear of this.
Mom worked hard in the fields of Louisiana to make enough money to keep Yolanda in school, but earlier this semester sent word that she would soon return to San Miguel and that she would not have the resources to keep Yolanda in school. Yolanda is attending an outstanding university and has a Jóvenes Adelante scholarship, but she has to eat, transport herself, buy her books, etc.
Hearing of her plight, her Jóvenes Adelante mentor, Concepcion Elvira Provenzal, began mentioning Yolanda’s situation to friends and colleagues. Another Jóvenes Adelante mentor heard Yolanda’s story and said, “I want to meet this girl.” Yolanda got up early in the morning one Saturday to catch the bus into San Miguel. At the appointed hour, however, she was not in the meeting place. Elvira made a call to her sister back at home, who said that the bus had not been on time, so Yolanda was walking the almost two miles to the highway to catch the next bus.
Once together, Yolanda shared her story, her aspirations, her fear that she might not be able to accomplish her academic career, the one thing that might get her family out of poverty. Tears flowed. Kleenex was passed. And this other Jóvenes mentor declared, “You are my Mexican daughter. Together we will do whatever it takes to get you through university.”
“You are my guardian angel,” said Yolanda.
Jóvenes Adelante helps the brightest light up the world by identifying those with the greatest potential but who lack the financial wherewithal to attend university. The JA system of mentors, laptops, life skills, counseling, networking, English tutoring, and a graduate network has yielded an 85-percent graduation rate over the past 14 years, which is outstanding in comparison to 22 percent in Mexico, 55 percent in Canada, and 60 percent in the US.
For more information on how to light up the world by transforming lives through education, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, 152 3709 (SMA), or 925 476 8117 (Vonage), and see www.jovenesadelante.org.