Recently the LULAC Parent/Child Scholarship Program celebrated its 20th anniversary of awarding scholarships to the Alamo Colleges to young children of single parents. The program is a partnership between the Alamo Colleges Foundation, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council #2, and the Alamo Colleges - San Antonio College (SAC) Women's Center. It provides young parents a $1000 scholarship distributed over four consecutive semesters to help pay for educational expenses.
What makes this a one-of-a-kind opportunity is the program also provides a scholarship to a child under the age of six of the parent. Once the parents finish their academic goals, their children can receive a two-year scholarship to attend one of the Alamo Colleges when the child graduates from high school.
Tom Sandoval, president emeritus of LULAC Council #2, originally came up with the idea as a way of ensuring the academic success of two generations of students. So far, 223 parent scholars and 23 child scholars have successfully completed the program.
Jessenia Caña and her daughter, Ariel, who spoke at the 20th anniversary event, are two of those who greatly benefitted from the scholarship program. In 1997, as a young single mother attending Palo Alto College,
Caña and her three-year-old daughter, Ariel, were awarded scholarships from the program. Ariel even met Rey Feo and received a book about Fiesta that he autographed. With help from the scholarship
Caña earned her associate degree in math and was able to attend UTSA.
Then, 16 years later, Ariel was finishing her first year in college when she became pregnant and had to drop out due to financial concerns. Coincidentally, her mother came across the
Fiesta book, and it reminded her of the LULAC scholarship.
Caña was concerned the scholarship might not still be in effect. However, after speaking to Bertha Castellanos with SAC's Services for Women and Non-Traditional Students (SWANS) program, she learned that the program staff had been trying to locate her and her daughter. She was assured that the scholarship was still in effect, and Ariel was able to continue her college education.
Ariel has since completed her associate degree in education and is one year away from receiving her bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University - San Antonio.