Help Sending Jonas to College

Thank you for visiting my GoFundMe page. I hope that you will consider helping send me to College of the Ozarks, where I will major in History.

Hello everyone, my name is Jonas Tavares, 19, from Brazil. I have been admitted, with full scholarship, to College of the Ozarks, from Missouri. Although I have received this amazing full tuition scholarship, which also includes room and board, I still need to make a deposit of $2,500 to secure my spot for the spring semester. 

I intend to pursue this history major to become either a brazilian diplomat or work for the United Nations in the future, and of course, help my community and family.

Since I am not American, and thus not eligible for state or federal grants, and as the college has accepted me with full scholarship, I need to make the International Student Deposit of $2000 to be used in case of emergency. Note that this is only a deposit, not a payment, meaning that I will get the money back, less any monies owed to the college, as soon as I graduate. The problem is that I am struggling to make this payment now, as I have always faced financial hardship and come from a very poverty-stricken neighborhood. 

What will I do with the money? Since it is only a deposit, not a payment. They will give me the money, upon my withdrawal from college, less any monies spent with emergencies and certain fees. The money I get back will be used to buy my flight ticket to come back home, and I will think during these 4 years in how to invest the money left in my community, and I assure you that I will update you and send to each donor the outcome of the investment or action.  And surely, with my graduation, I will be able to do much more for them.

Would you mind reading about me and why I need your support?

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I have been born and raised in a very poor family and reality, in the northeast of Brazil. Son of a illiterate father and a mother who didn't finish high school, youngest brother out of five, I have managed to change my life through education and became the first in my family to ever finish high school. 

That wasn't easy, though; I had to walk 3 miles every day to go to the best, still not so good, public school in my neighborhood, in order to assure that I would get an opportunity that later would change my life. I have self taught myself English, and in 2015 I was awarded with a fully funded exchange program from the government to study at St. Paul Preparatory School, an international school in St. Paul, Minnesota, for one semester. This experience abroad opened up my eyes to many possibilities and broadened my horizons to a global perspective.

There, I had the opportunity to apply for another study abroad scholarship, now in Shanghai, China, and I made it! I was one of only two scholars awarded with a full scholarship for an adventurous semester in Shanghai. Due to my high marks and good relationship with students and faculties, it turned that I got to stay in China not only for one semester, but for the whole year and now I can speak Chinese and have an international school diploma, as I graduated from high school there, on the other side of the planet. 

Back to the same reality, I took a gap year and started working as an English teacher, and meanwhile, I started getting prepared to apply to colleges in the USA, by practicing tests and writing essays. 

It was in Minnesota where I started to think about my future and began looking into American universities and their application process. I eventually applied to 10 colleges and got accepted into 7. From all of them, the only one that covered all my financial needs was College of the Ozarks, which coincidentally was and is my dream college. It is a Christian College with a very interesting work program; It is called "Hard Work U" and students work on campus to guarantee a free education and graduate debt free. So yeah, I will be paying for my education with my hard work!

My family background and community doesn't contrast what I have achieved, but it is for them, though, that  I want to go further. I see people either getting drugged on the streets or hopeless of getting out of this sad reality. I was the first person in my family to finish high school and I want to become the first to go to college. I already got it! I only need your help to make it come true. I want to get a good education, change the reality I live in, and contribute to the development of a society where everybody will have equal opportunities and incentives will be provided for those who have limited resources to keep looking up for their aspirations regardless of their income.

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Some of my awards, honors and activities:

- National Math Olympiad Honorable Mention - 2010

- State Chemistry Olympiad Honorable Mention - 2014

- Honor Roll - 2016 - List of students with GPA equal or superior to 3,5 in China.

- Study abroad programs in the USA and China.

- Rio2016 Olympic Games Volunteer - 2016

- UPlanet Festival of Recife Volunteer - 2016

- Greepeace volunteer - present

- Ambassador at Mentoring Young Talents Brazil - present

- English teacher at Passaporte Idiomas - present

- Motivational speaker - Delivering motivational speeches at public schools in my hometown - present

- Action Plan Executor at World Merit - One of 130 young changemakers from around the world that met in London last August to discuss and find solutions to tackle the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, and working on the implementation post meeting - present

- Founder of One Toy, One Smile - Campaign to collect toys, in order to donate to children with cancer in my hometown for Children's day, on october 12th - present

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"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

- Nelson Mandela

Please spread the word.

Eternally thankful,

Jonas do Nascimento Tavares
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Organizer and beneficiary

Jonas Tavares 
Organizer
Melissa Melnarik 
Beneficiary
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