by Evan Aroko
Photo: Instagram – Forest Foundation Summer Interns (@ffsummerinterns)
Most people can agree that education is important for every man, woman and child on Earth. With it, people can work towards fulfilling their own life goals, desires and dreams. In my opinion, two of the most important aspects a person can receive during an educational journey are motivation and encouragement, whether it be from family, friends, literature, films, music, the list can go on. As a young adult, I have been extremely lucky enough to have grown up within various types of communities that constantly encourage and motivate, in regards to academic studies, personal hardships and just towards the ability to persevere in life.
Though, I have also found myself in communities that have dozens of low-income families, families who are unable to provide for and are unable to successfully nurture their own children’s academic lives. Within situations like these, children and teens can often lose hope, motivation and may not even receive enough or even meaningful encouragement. As a result, the full capabilities within these youth groups can be overlooked and sometimes even ignored.
Fortunately, there are dozen of existing and active organizations who see to it that kids obtain the guidance, resources and knowledge they need to gain a higher education.
La Vida Scholars is a non-profit organization that equips low-income, high-achieving Lynn, MA students with resources and preparation needed to enter great colleges. Though, the program and its staff go above and beyond, allowing their students to really feel apart of social, engaging and diverse communities. Through one on one mentoring and year round college prep classes, students grow both in their academic studies and their character persona for the better.
During my time with La-Vida, I have witnessed an impressive and sympathetic staff who dedicate loads of time to work with fun, bright, talented and intelligent scholars and, they truly enjoy doing so. La Vida staff members have built, and continue to build, strong relationships with scholars and their families. I’ve been fortunate enough to come across lots of scholars currently enrolled in the program and scholars who have graduated from the program and are happy and hardworking college students.
Saturday June 10th was the 2017 La-Vida Scholars Graduation, and all attendees had loads of fun and celebrated the achievements LS scholars had accomplished within their three year time with the program. It was also a time for reflection for both the scholars and the staff of LVS, for them to think about all the hard work completed from both groups.
One of the many highlights of this internship opportunity with La Vida was being a part of the program’s Fall recruitment process for their incoming student class. During this time, I was fortunate enough to read about and interview over sixty exceptional students who demonstrated what it means to be a hard worker, a leader and so much more. I was able to hear about and understand their own personal stories, which were both emotional and inspiring. At the end of our recruitment process, thirty high school students were chosen and welcomed into the La Vida program.
As my time as an intern at La Vida comes to a close, I am proud to say that I am much more appreciative of my academic life, family and friends. My confidence and optimism for my future life has greatly increased and I am more eager to pursue my dreams and goals.
Clearly lots of teens within Lynn are in good hands.
Evan Aroko (Centre College c/o 2020) was our 2017 Forest Foundation summer intern. We’ll miss him!