An Enriched Life Through Community Service by Magdalena Jefferson

An Enriched Life Through Community Service by Magdalena Jefferson

 

 I’d like to explain how I came to achieving my goals and why I want to become a teacher. The desire to teach and  earn a PhD was stirred up by my uncle Bobby. He too was an educator, and had a powerful impact on his students and staff.  He was very giving, always made people laugh, and always had a smile on his face. My uncle started off as a high school teacher and was then a principal. In 2009, he vacationed to Mexico with his wife  and was murdered by the cartel. He was simply at the wrong place, at the wrong time.  Our whole city was shocked and furious that his life was taken from him, as well as us. He was two semesters away from earning his PhD at UCLA. His story was broadcasted nationwide and brought the attention of many, shortly after, we created a scholarship in his honor. 

As a result of his death, my family created the Bobby Salcedo Memorial Foundation.  We award local high school seniors, as well as students in a continuation school, with scholarships that range from $500-$1,500. Our requirements are simply that they enroll in a college or vocational school, and demonstrate how they will give back one day.  Our community is an inner-city and our schools are classified as low income. More than half of students are on Free and Reduced Lunch Program. This scholarship gives students an opportunity to further their education and pursue their careers.

 We fundraise by hosting a scholarship dinner where we auction gift baskets and paintings that are donated by local businesses. In addition to the auction, we also have guest speakers that draw the attention of the community. Other fundraisers include running a firework stand at our local supermarket during the Fourth of July, selling Dodger tickets to have a “Bobby Salcedo Dodger Night”, and hosting a “State Line Turn Around” which is popular with our senior citizens (they love to have fun). All of the money raised goes directly towards scholarships. In addition to fundraisers, I promote the foundation by running a Facebook page as well as a website.

This year, our first round of scholarship students are now college seniors or graduating. Our foundation has proved to have a positive impact on students’ lives. While we covered a mere portion of their tuition, it gave students a chance to realize they can go to college, and they can graduate! A few of our students have written us e-mails saying that, while they didn’t have a chance to know my uncle, they know he was a great man based on how our family interacts with the community. It is touching to hear that we can reflect my uncle’s personality in the way we communicate  and give back.

My uncle instilled in me that I need to be the best version of myself at all times. This does not mean to have tangible things in life, rather to always be humble, caring, and to give back to others. I do not have a lot to give, but I donate my time by being a part of my uncle’s scholarship committee (Bobby Salcedo Memorial Foundation), making Thanksgiving baskets, assembling Christmas baskets, and helping friends with college applications. Performing volunteer work brings my joy, because I have helped someone.

The saying that life is like a roller coaster is the best way of describing mine.  When I was young, I thought this expression meant life that it would be fun all the time, nonstop! I am now twenty-four years old and have discovered the true meaning. I have experienced unfortunate events of losing loved ones, raising a daughter on my own,  and yet I am striving to obtain my career, education, and happiness. My uncle’s life has enriched my own , and others in the community. Thank you for taking the time to read my application and for offering students this scholarship.

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Contributed by Magdalena Jefferson

December 16, 2015

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