Teen Mom Accepted into Harvard
Hello Family, Friends & Kind Strangers,
My name is Julissa and the beautiful little girl in the picture next to me is Amaris, my seven year old daughter. I took that picture almost a year ago as we waited in line hand and hand, ready to walk across the stage of the UC Berkeley RAZA Graduation Ceremony. Moments later, I had the privilege of sharing that stage and that accomplishment with the one person I have always sought to make proud-my little human being.
I stand before you today, a first-generation, high school and college graduate who weeks ago was accepted to Harvard's Graduate School of Education. Although I am both excited and honored to have this opportunity, I am also overwhelmed by the overall cost of attending HGSE.
Tuition alone is $43,280, plus an additional $3,432 in medical fees. The entire projected cost of attending Harvard comes out to a whooping $70,744.00, however this estimate is of that of a single (meaning no dependents) masters students. I am pleased to say that Harvard has awarded me a modest amount of $14,000 to help cover some of the tuition costs, nonetheless that is not nearly enough to cover school fees nor living expenses. So here is where I turn to the kindness of others...
As I move forward with my academic endeavors, I realize that my lived experiences as a low-income, first generation, teen mom, student of color that have taught me just as much, if not more, than anything I could have ever learned in the classroom. It is these key experiences that keep me grounded and inform my pedagogical approach to education. Education can, and at times does, function as a liberatory tool of empowerment that enables consciousness; that initial spark. My refusal to accept education as anything less than freedom, encourages me to pursue a life dedicated to education. Moreover, it is the countless mentors, my brothers, and my beautiful daughter that have given me the courage to pursue an advanced degree, starting with my Ed.M. and resulting in a Ph.D. in Education Policy, so that I too can spark the minds that will change this world.
As a single mother and the sole financial provider for my daughter, I am starting this campaign in hopes that you can help in making this dream come true for her and I. I am more than happy to share more about my story, or answer any questions if it will help shed light on my situation.
Thank you for your support in advance!
To learn more about our story please follow the links below:
Univision-Madre soltera logra sueño de estudiar en Harvard con su hija como inspiración
PEOPLE'S Magazine-California Woman Goes from Teen Mom to Harvard: 'My Motivation Was a Walking and Living Thing'
If you are in the San Diego area I invite you to attend a farewell dinner for Paul Ortega and myself at The Front at Casa Familiar in San Ysidro, CA. The event will be hosted by Casa Familiar, the San Ysidro Chamber of Commerce, Duty Free and Ueta. The events starts at 6PM Friday, July 24, 2015. Please come join us! I am five days away from leaving to Cambridge, so if you can please stop by. Thank you for all the love and support :)
If you can all please continue to share the link to my GoFundMe with your friends, family, and colleagues, I'd really appreciate it.
This entire experience has been utterly humbling... a couple weeks ago Fox 5 News San Diego reached out to me because they wanted to run a story about Amaris and I. As such, yesterday Fox aired a brief segment about my journey to Harvard titled, 'San Ysidro Teen Mom Heads to Harvard.' We filmed the segment at my high school, San Ysidro High School, and I had the opportunity to walk the halls with my now almost 8 year-old. Although she's been down the halls before, she was too young to recall any of it. It was beautiful to walk hand in hand with her and show her my old classrooms and lunch time hangouts. Ellina, the reporter that interviewed me, did an amazing job at capturing a fragment of my story and sharing it with others. She went as far as to share my GoFundMe campaign with the Fox 5 viewers and the results have been unbelievable. People from all over San Diego are sharing my story and others have been kind enough to donate as well. All I can say is THANK YOU! Thank you to all those who have been thoughtful enough to share the link and/or make a donation of any amount. Please know that Amaris and I are sooooooo grateful! Every donation counts. Blessings to all :)
P.S. If you'd like to view the video, copy and paste the link below to your browser.
It's been a little over a month since I first started my GoFundMe campaign and the results have been amazing. Although I've said it before, I need to reiterate how humbling this experience has been. I've had so many people offer their help both in and out of this campaign in various capacities...from donating coats and warm clothing for my daughter, to offering their photography skills for future photo sessions, to posting flyers in their work spaces/neighborhoods. Thank you everyone!
Briefly, I'd like to update everyone on where I'm at with my journey to Harvard. I am currently in the process of moving out of the Bay, before spending some time in San Diego with my family. This summer I plan on taking a statistics course at a local community college in preparation for Data Analysis while also enjoying the summer weather with my daughter and family. I have also signed the lease for my apartment in Cambridge, so as of right now the plan is to move late July. As the date gets closer I can't help but feel nervous, but also anxious for what's to come. Wish us luck :) And PLEASE CONTINUE SHARING!
Thank you again to everyone!
As time goes on, I will be updating everyone periodically and continuously sharing the link once again in order to gain further traction, so I ask that you please do not get tired of me for doing so. I am on a mission to keep going and making my dream happen so please if you can, post and share periodically as well! Thank you again!
So happy to donate! U r exceptional and wish u and your baby girl much happiness and su cess!! I got your Go Fund Me story in my friends FB and now I shared it with all my friends and family.