The last few weeks have been a blur, as you can imagine. At times, I have felt that I was walking in a fog, covering uncharted territory physically, mentally and emotionally. But every day, I have felt your love and compassion envelop me and lift me up-- through a note left on a bouquet of flowers on my porch-bench or another ice-chest full of nutritious food left outside my door or a text message reminding me that I do not walk alone, that you are near me, ready to do whatever I need to lighten my load. Your love and compassion are the fuel that keeps me moving forward.
In the midst of all the sorrow, a dear friend of the family reached out to ask if I wanted to set up a foundation to keep Armando's legacy alive. It reminded me of dreaming with Armando -- "wouldn't it be wonderful if we could set up a scholarship fund in perpetuity or an endowment to help a deserving kid, any kid, attain a higher education That would be something, wouldn't it?”
Armando and I understood that attaining a higher education is one of the biggest steps a person can take to pull themselves out of poverty. And you never know where that first step might lead. It might lead that person to become a doctor, or nurse, or a physical therapist, or lawyer or accountant, or a social worker, or a psychologist or a teacher. We dreamed about transforming lives, the way that our lives had been transformed by that important first step-- attaining a higher education.
Here’s a true story about Armando that fueled his dream of setting up a scholarship fund. When Armando was an undergraduate at Cal State Long Beach applying to Medical Schools, an advisor he greatly admired, Dr. Marcy lent an unexpected hand.
When Dr. Marcy found out that Armando was interviewing at Harvard Medical School, he invited Armando to dinner. After dinner, he asked Armando if he knew what he would be wearing to the interview. In true Armando fashion, he told him he hadn't thought about it much. Dr. Marcy intuited that Armando likely did not have a business suit yet, much less the type of long wool coat that one would need to survive a Cambridge winter. So he told Armando to follow him to his closet, where he proceeded to have him try on various suits, ties and finally a long thick London Fog wool coat. This kind professor, let Armando borrow a business suit and a proper winter coat so that Armando would be properly dressed for his interview.
Armando never forgot that gesture and someday he planned to pay that gesture forward.
So, back to my friend's question, here’s the answer. We are setting up a memorial scholarship fund at Cal State East Bay to support first generation college students. We want them to know the sacrifices they have made to get this far are worth it and that there are people rooting for their success.
Thank you for helping bring Armando's dream to fruition.
- You will receive your tax deduction acknowledgment from the PayPal Giving Fund which is the charity partner of GoFundMe.
- If the minimum to start an endowment ($25K) is not raised, the funds will be given out as scholarships over the next few years.
- If you would prefer to write a check, please contact Holly Fincke at Cal State East Bay