Quility Recipient

Evelyn Gonzalez

AMOUNT: $5,000
SCHOOL: University of North Carolina at Charlotte

My dad was an alcoholic and a heavy smoker. What little money my family had would be spent on this addiction. In 2020, my dad died after months of suffering. This period was difficult, not only emotionally but financially. My parents came to the United States from Mexico with nothing. They had to navigate through a foreign land where they were lost. However, with the birth of my siblings and myself, they had to pave the way. This wasn’t easy, considering the cultures in Mexico and the USA are entirely different. Consequently, my parents knew nothing about life insurance and never got life insurance. With my father’s passing, we had to pay for everything, which was expensive. This was a problem as my mom had stopped working to care for my dad, and all the money we had saved was spent on making his final months comfortable- we had no money to fall back on. I believe that if we had life insurance, our financial situation would’ve been very different. I don’t think we would’ve struggled to find a place to live or cover my dad’s funeral expenses if we had a security net in the form of life insurance. Although still difficult, our situation wouldn’t have been as hopeless as I saw it. 

However, there was still an issue—my future. Attending college had always been a dream of mine, but now, with no savings or aid, it was infeasible. For a while, I had concluded that I shouldn’t go to college as it would be inconvenient for my widowed mom, who struggled to get by with rent, groceries, and other living costs. After some self-reflection, I realized my dad was a huge motivator for me. So with his death, I was discouraged, but I was not without courage. Finding a job became my priority. I wanted to work and make my own money to help my mom pay the bills when she was struggling to assist my brother at college and care for my autistic brother. Although a huge time commitment, my weekdays start at 6 am and end at 6 pm, it’s worth it. I’m more than happy to sacrifice some of my free time to help my mom especially when she’s done so much for me.

As a first-generation college student, I want to show my mom and late dad that all the work they put into coming to America wasn’t for nothing and that all the sacrifices they took to raise my siblings and I meant something to me. My dream is to create safe housing and accessible transportation in underdeveloped countries. I want to create a better and safer world that benefits all people, not just those who can afford it. So majoring and working in civil engineering is my first pursuit towards that ideation. With the help of this scholarship, I hope to achieve these goals and much more. However, the reality is that I have no other door to open without financial aid.

The Life Lessons Scholarship is made possible through individual donations and corporate sponsorships. Your financial support can make a world of difference for a young person struggling to afford a college education due to the loss of a parent or guardian.

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