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 Sequoia Adult School Scholars
        Helping adult learners succeed, one semester at a time 
 
Armed with English, SASS recipients flock to entrepreneurship 
Carmina Ortuño 

Confronted with skyrocketing rents and stagnant wages -- and emboldened by their ability to communicate in English -- SASS recipients are starting their own businesses, while still staying in college.  

Before coming to the United States, SASS recipient Carmina Ortuño owned a small restaurant in Acapulco. Wanting to capitalize on her passion for cooking, she has opened a food truck in San Jose specializing in traditional Mexican fare like chili verde, chicken tinga, and barbacoa. A company called FoodTruckEmpire provided her with the know-how she needed to get started.  Thanks to her SASS scholarship, Carmina could afford to attend Cañada College to gain the English skills she needed to embark on this endeavor.

In addition to working 12-hour days preparing and selling food for her truck, Carmina now has a catering business, a result of satisfied food truck customers asking her to prepare food for private parties. Carmina's goal is to get an Associate degree in business from Cañada College and help other people open their own food trucks.
Need a caterer? Handyman? Housecleaner? DJ? Gardener? A cake for a special occasion? If you're interested in possibly hiring a SASS recipient with experience in one of these areas, please contact us and we can connect you.
Carlos Gonzalez 
SASS recipient Carlos Gonzalez, a construction worker during normal business hours, has a thriving handyman business, working nights and weekends on projects that run the gamut from painting to drywalling, appliance installation to plumbing repairs.
 
While Carlos learned to speak English on the job, he knew very little about writing in English prior to taking ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. First he took ESL classes at Sequoia Adult School. Then, thanks to a SASS scholarship, he was able to take more advanced ESL classes at Cañada College. Improving his ability to write in English gave him the confidence he needed to open his own business. "I need to create bids and send emails," he says. "You need to write in English for that." Carlos's goal is to get his contractor license.
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Miguel Ventura first learned the DJ business when he was 14 and looking for a job in San Salvador, where he lived. A friend suggested he park cars at a local club. One thing led to another and Miguel soon was helping the resident DJ run the show. Now, more than 20 years later, Miguel has his own DJ business.
 
After arriving in the US, Miguel borrowed money from friends to purchase sound equipment. He also enrolled in ESL classes, first at Sequoia Adult School and then at Cañada College. In addition to paying for his books, SASS provided Miguel with a computer, freeing him from having to go to the library to complete homework assignments.

Up until recently, most customers for Miguel's DJ services were Latinos. But that's changing. "Now I know English and I can work with the American people," Miguel says.
Miguel Ventura 
SAVE THE DATE: Sampling for Success 2016
A fundraising and inspirational event where you can meet some of the students profiled here!
June 11, 2:00  to 4:00 p.m.
Details coming soon!
Sequoia Adult School Scholars | 650-395-8350 | SASS.ContactUs@Gmail.com | SASSFoundation.net

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