I am a former foster youth, having been in the government system since I was eleven years old. My attempts to form personal relationships with my parents have been rejected from a young age, when my widowed grandmother adopted me. I have been a victim of verbal abuse. For years I found myself in the middle of a custody battle between my grandmother and my parents. Through the majority of my sophomore year of high school, I spent the majority of my time beside the intensive care unit bed of my mother who was in a medically induced coma after being hit by a vehicle.
My name is Salvador and I am a graduate of The Preuss School UCSD and currently a freshman at San Diego State University. I was first accepted to San Diego State as a pre-social work major. However, after being introduced to A Bridge for Kids and the many philanthropists within the organization, I soon realized that being in the social work field isn’t the only way I could give back to the community in which I was raised. I am now pursuing a business major. My goal is to make a comfortable income and be able to take care of my family; while still investing much of my funds into first generation, college bound students with an emphasis in helping foster youth and immigrant students. I, too, hope to create an organization that gives deserving students a hand up in pursuing their dreams.
At the beginning of my senior year in high school, I entered an essay writing contest sponsored by A Bridge for Kids. Although I did not win the contest, I was still flagged by the organization as someone they wanted to help. They felt that it was their duty to ensure that I pursued my dreams. After speaking at the first annual Casino Night fundraiser, I was paired with a wonderful family from San Diego who have since brought me under their wing. My sponsorship covered many expenses that I would have not been able to afford as a foster youth who was aging out of the system, including $300 worth of college application fees that I did not have to spare. I also used my sponsorship to help me purchase a class ring, a scooter to get me around my college campus, and dorm supplies. More than the financial hand up I received through ABFK, the guidance and mentorship I have received through my sponsors and the other volunteers at A Bridge for Kids have been more beneficial. ABFK has, and always will be, a role model of a non-profit organization that I hope to one day start.
Lastly, one great opportunity I received through the organization was my Northern California trip. To a few peers and myself, the closest thing to viewing schools outside of San Diego was going online and looking at pictures of campuses. However, this all changed when ABFK took eight students, including myself, to visit many California schools outside of San Diego, such as CSU Chico, CSU East Bay, CSU Stanislaus, San Fran State, University of San Fran, and UC Merced. Being able to actually visit the campuses was an experience that no website could have ever provided me. For example, I never had considered attending CSU Chico. However, once I was there I fell in love with the school and the nearby town. My final choice, due to my grandmother’s age, led me to attend SDSU; but having the opportunity to visit other campuses allowed me to compare this university with others and to know that SDSU was the right place for me at this time in my life.
If it wasn’t for ABFK, I would have never received the opportunity to visit colleges outside of San Diego, I would not have been able to financially get through my senior year in high school, and would have never met such inspirational people who have driven me to dream that one day it will be me impacting so many young lives, the way that ABFK has done for me.