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Coming Full Circle

“ I grew up in a rough neighborhood of Pomona where crime was a frequent occurrence. My parents only had a 3rd grade education in Mexico, and as a result they were both unfamiliar with options for higher education. However, my parents knew the importance of hard work and achieving goals to live a better life; they instilled in me the “ganas” to desire more out of my life. I did well in school, but I had no concept of what college was or what my future held, since I was just trying to survive day by day and lacked a roadmap. However, one day in my junior year of high school, then-Bright Prospect Program Director Tim Sandoval (and current mayor of Pomona) came to my class to talk about the benefits of Bright Prospect. That day, I got hooked and my life changed forever. Bright Prospect introduced me to selective East Coast colleges I’d never heard of, let alone dreamed I could attend. After graduating from Ganesha High School in 2006, I attended Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts and received a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language & Literature in 2010. Even though I’m the youngest of my 4 siblings, I became the example for them and am the first in my family to graduate from college. During my educational journey, I realized I want to help other students like myself, like how Bright Prospect had helped me, and serve my community through education. After I returned home from college, there was a job opportunity at Bright Prospect that I couldn’t pass up, and I’ve been here ever since.” 

      Kendra Pineda,  Junior Team Program Manager, Bright Prospect & Smith College Alum

The Right Opportunity At Just The Right Time

“Growing up, I was mainly raised by my grandparents because my parents were absent from my life due to incarceration and addiction related issues. I didn’t have an opportunity to establish a close group of friends at school, as I bounced around different schools-as many as a few times per year. Tragically, when I was 15, both of my grandparents passed away within 4 months of each other, and shortly after, I joined Bright Prospect at just the right time in my life. What Bright Prospect brought to my life was a sense of stability, which was in stark contrast to my family life. I always knew that education was my avenue to a better life, and Bright Prospect helped me achieve my goals. With their guidance, after I graduated from Charter Oak High School in 2009, I attended the University of La Verne and graduated with a degree in International Business and Language in 2013. For the past three years, I’ve been working at NASA JPL as an Earth Science Business Administrator. My job is to analyze financial information to ensure that the department stays within their budget. Also, I recently received my MBA from the University of Redlands. I will be forever grateful to Bright Prospect for the unconditional love and support they have given me throughout the years.”

        Angel K., Bright Prospect, University of La Verne, & University of Redlands Alum

A Life Changing Experience

"Both of my parents are immigrants from Mexico, and they only had a third grade education. My father has a 6th grade education and my mother graduated from high school in Mexico, but studied for her GED in the US once she was older.  As a result, I didn’t know anything about college or the college application process while growing up in Pomona. While other kids of middle and upper class means had conversations around the dinner table of what college they should go to and their career goals, the main conversation around our dinner table revolved around where we were going to find the money to pay the bills for that month. Putting food on the table was a constant struggle because my dad worked in construction and my mom was a homemaker. After I joined Bright Prospect however, I became exposed to the world of higher education and saw college as a possibility. Due to Bright Prospect’s support, after graduating from Ganesha High School in 2009, I attended Cal Poly Pomona on Bright Prospect scholarships, which enabled me to focus on my studies without the financial burden to my family. During my time at Cal Poly, I had a professor who inspired me to become an engineer, and I received a degree in Chemical & Materials Engineering in 2014. Now, I currently work as a scientist doing research and development in bio-mimetics for medical devices. Bright Prospect taught me that education has the power to transform lives and communities. I see this truth in not only myself, but also in the many alumni whose lives have been impacted by their support.“

       Jessica Grande, Bright Prospect & Cal Poly Pomona Alum

A Whole New World

“College was never discussed in my family. My parents have only an elementary school education. So when I got to high school and heard the counselors talking about it, college was a whole new idea to me. I needed all the help I could get, because I wanted to go somewhere where I could learn to be independent and have a challenging college experience, and I had no idea how to start. One of my teachers recommended me to Bright Prospect, who helped me all the way through the process. I must have applied to more than a dozen really wonderful colleges. So many forms to fill out! So much money for SATs and application fees! Bright Prospect made it all possible. This fall, I’ll be a freshman at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania studying engineering or mathematics. Swarthmore is a long way from home, and deciding to go there was a hard decision to make. I’ve never been away from my family for more than three days. But my mom said, Whatever makes you happy, and wherever you want to go, just go for it. I couldn’t have gotten where I am today without Bright Prospect. They opened up a whole new world for me.”

     Criselda Haro, Bright Prospect & Swarthmore College Alum

A Perfect Fit

“I live with my mom and my younger sister. My mom is unemployed, and we’re really struggling to get by. My dream has always been to go to college, and I hoped I would be able to attend a big public university near my home. But Bright Prospect challenged me to consider an out-of-state college. Before Bright Prospect, I had no idea I might qualify for a full scholarship to a highly selective liberal-arts college, where I could get the best possible undergraduate education. But Bright Prospect opened my eyes and challenged me to aim high. This fall, I will attend Smith College in Massachusetts with full financial aid. Through Bright Prospect, I was able to apply to a number of colleges, and even visit some of them. I discovered that Smith is a perfect fit for me. Not only will I receive a great education, but because of my background and experiences, I can contribute so much. The people at Bright Prospect gave me this valuable confidence. They genuinely want to help me to succeed. Sometimes I forget they’re my mentors, because they’ve become my friends.”

     Monica Godinez, Bright Prospect & Smith College Alum

We Are So Proud

“I brought my wife and four children to the United States 16 years ago from Guadalajara, Mexico. My wife is a high school graduate, but I quit school after the fourth grade. I am a gardener by trade, and I don’t earn a lot of money. We never thought college would be an option for our children. Our eldest daughter, Miriam, has always been first in her class at school. One day, her counselor told her about Bright Prospect, and she was selected for the program. After meeting with the Bright Prospect staff, we encouraged her to take advantage of this program. The college application process is complicated, and the people at Bright Prospect spent a lot of time helping Miriam with all the paperwork. They even helped her visit her favorite campuses. This fall, Miriam is going to Pomona College on a full scholarship to study journalism. My wife and I still can’t believe that this is actually happening for our daughter. We are so proud of her. I don’t think this opportunity would have come her way without Bright Prospect.”

     Diego Aguirre, Parent of a Bright Prospect Alum