The pain was unbearable. Sitting still for more than a few minutes was an exercise in intense concentration, but Reyna Por Rodriguez had no other choice. She tried to block out the pain, instead focusing on the teacher’s soft voice at the front of the room and the feel of the crisp paper in between her fingertips. She pictured her sponsors in the United States, and the family counting on her at home. Determined to take full advantage of her Cooperative for Education (CoEd) scholarship, she vowed to stay in school, no matter what.
Reyna beams as she talks about the goals and dreams she has achieved thanks to CoEd’s Scholarship & Youth Development Program.
Reyna reflects on that painful time in her life, when a bad accident left her unable to sit for extended periods of time. She recounts the struggle of encouraging her younger brother with disabilities to stay in school, saying, with tears in her eyes, “My own experience serves as an example to him to keep going, even when times are tough.”
Reyna is not only an example for her younger brother, but for all nine of her siblings. Her single mother never had the chance to attend school, and is illiterate. Without the means to afford tuition, four of Reyna’s older siblings had to drop out of school, further miring their family in poverty.
Then Reyna was accepted into CoEd’s Scholarship & Youth Development Program, and everything changed. (more…)