I’m always inspired by organizations and individuals that are focused on supporting Hispanics in education. Having traveled a very non-traditional path in my academic pursuits, I can attest that the help and inspiration given by these people meant a lot during my own journey. If someone had told me back in my high school days that I’d earn a doctorate in my lifetime, I’d say they were not well. Now it’s easy to look back and identify the key points in my life that made a difference.
Frankly, inspiration didn’t come from high school teachers; I was just too much of an unengaged student to understand their importance. Inspiration came from those that did – people that do. Those individuals by far held the most credibility with me early on. So when I read stories like this one , I still think it’s people that do that make a difference in other’s lives. The best advice I ever got was from my brother-in-laws father. During a visit to see my sister in New York one Spring Break he asked how my studies were progressing. “I’m working and trying hard,” I responded. He looked me in the eyes, poked his finger into my chest, and said, “Don’t try. Do.” I did.
Organizations like the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) also make an impact but on a much larger scale. They do. By supporting the efforts of Hispanic high school and college students, this organization is making a difference – daily – in the lives of thousands of future Hispanic leaders and talent. I attended a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and always heard the acronym HACU on campus: sponsoring workshops; organizing intern programs; and cultivating inspiration. Later working at a HSI career center, HACU was constantly working hard to change state funding policies and assure institutions like mine were awarded their fair share in order to help our Hispanic college student population. They did. HACU’s efforts have helped literally thousands of Hispanic college students that are in the workforce today – me included.
I sometimes forget that it takes a community to support the efforts of the community. Those of us that have benefitted from the support of individuals or organizations owe it to them to give something back – to share our stories of success, to be a mentor, and to always do.