Main fundraiser photo

SUPPORT JOEL AND LEVI ATTENDING COLLEGE IN THE US

Donation protected
Photo captions for above: Clockwise from upper left: Joel, Maria and Levi in Bogota, January 2023; Joel and Levi graduating Lassen Community College, May 2023; Levi in Medical Immersion Camp, New York, July 2022; Levi on the campus of PACE University, Autumn 2023; Joel on the campus of University of California at Chico. Autumn 2023

Good day, and a very cordial greeting.

I am María Tibisay Vásquez, mother of Joel and Levi Pernía, both young students studying in the United States. Joel is currently attending Chico State University in California, studying International Relations and Levi is attending PACE University in New York as a Health Science student in the College of Health Professions. He is pre-nursing.

Their journey began in the spring of 2021, when we received the news that they were admitted to study at Lassen Community College, and to participate in the college football team led by coach Alex Machín, himself a former member of the Colombian national youth soccer team. We are originally from Venezuela, and legally emigrated to Colombia in 2016 given the crisis at home. This move allowed both of my boys, who lost their father at a very young age, to complete high school, further their education and for us to build a new life.

With faith, hard work and help from many others who have shared in this journey, we successfully completed the first two years of their studies. Joel graduated Lassen Community College with honors last May, and Levi with an Allied Health degree. Both were accepted at the four years schools mentioned above.

Both boys began their classes as well as training and competing with the Lassen soccer team in autumn 2021. We are originally from Venezuela, and legally emigrated to Colombia in 2016 given the crisis at home. This move allowed both of my boys, who lost their father at a very young age, to complete high school, further their education and for us to build a new life.

I would like to say that I am happy and grateful to God, because he has given my children this wonderful opportunity to improve themselves through their studies, sports and to personally grow through the experience of studying abroad.

With faith, hard work and help from many others who have shared in this journey, we successfully completed the first year of their studies and the first semester of their second year.

Joel is studying International Relations, and Levi intends to study nursing. The news of their acceptance made my children and I very happy, but in turn also made us very aware that we would face a series of obstacles, in realizing this opportunity. With faith and willingness to work hard, we embraced these challenges and strategies to overcome them. We have successfully achieved the first phase of this project. Joel graduated his community college with a 3.5 GPA and qualified for national honor society. Levi was invited to participate in a medical immersion camp this past summer in New York sponsored by a leading foundation. They awarded him a full scholarship for his tuition and housing, and the experience broadened his understanding of healthcare as a profession.

As we begin the next phase, of both boys pursuing their Bachelors degrees at four year schools, we face additional challenges.

We are currently seeking support for:

• Tuition

• Dormitory Fees

• Meal Plan

• Textbooks

• Medical Insurance

• Return Airfare to Colombia

• Cell phones

A little more about my children and how we have gotten to this stage:

Joel studied English at the American School Way Academy in Bogota for two years, and Levi wishes to continue his study of nursing, a profession he is passionate about and had been studying for over a year in Colombia. There, he is currently a nursing technician, having achieved a certificate through a program here in Colombia. He has also interned in clinics and a hospital system in Colombia. He has received commendations for his work. He even has aspirations of one day becoming a doctor.


Levi Vasquez assisting in the delivery room during internship at a
hospital near Bogota, Colombia, Spring 2021.


Joel on the campus of Chico Sate University, this fall, 2023.

The obstacles we have already overcome in this first phase of this project have included SEVIS payments, Visa Counseling Service fees, F-1 Visa student fees, Airline tickets, English Language test fees, Medical reports, Round of vaccines for travelers, and associated fees, and other administrative expenses, and costs for small personal items required, as well as tuition and housing costs.

This has required hard work from all of us, and the raising of external funds.

Some friends in the US have volunteered to help and support parts of this project in a spirit of love, family, and collaboration. And thanks to the generosity and goodwill of many, we have been able to successfully achieve this first stage. My children flew to the United States on August 21st, of last year, and they started their classes on August 23, 2021. Joel with 15 units of credits, and Levi with 13 credits, also complying with their physical sports training and competition. In December 2021, they completed their first semester including a full competition schedule. They studied remotely in the Spring and Summer of 2021 partly to save on costs and partly because of the pandemic. They completed their final year of community college last spring, with graduating with 60 credits.

My children want to make the most of this opportunity and they want to improve themselves, achieve their goals and dreams, and prepare for the future. I have seen it in just over a year, when just this project was an idea as they made an effort to study and prepare. And I, as their mother and single parent feel proud that at their young age, they have the strength and understanding of life to undertake this challenge. As an educator myself, I believe in the power of education, and I have tried to instill this value in my children.

I also believe that life is beautiful, a view I have also tried to instill in both boys, and it presents us with many situations. What we choose to make of these is in our hands and it is our decision. If we are of faith, brave, constant and persevering for our dreams and goals, we will achieve great things. I understand obstacles, but I am a woman of faith and struggle, and despite difficulties I support my children with all my love, strength and work. The support for my children by some great friends has been unconditional and helpful, and I already feel blessed by it. But we still require more resources to reach our goal.

I humbly ask for your help and support to continue with this project.

Any support you wish to offer will be greatly and deeply appreciated, and any contribution is welcome.

With gratitude and humility,

María Tibisay Vásquez
Donate

Donations 

  • Karen Gahl-Mills
    • $100 
    • 22 hrs
  • David Kassnoff
    • $50 
    • 2 d
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 2 d
  • Frances Wu
    • $200 
    • 8 d
  • Amy Simmons
    • $100 
    • 1 mo
Donate

Organizer

Adam Stoltman
Organizer
New York, NY

Your easy, powerful, and trusted home for help

  • Easy

    Donate quickly and easily

  • Powerful

    Send help right to the people and causes you care about

  • Trusted

    Your donation is protected by the GoFundMe Giving Guarantee