Unbound stories

With scholarship, mother achieves dreams

March 14, 2014

With the help of her Unbound scholarship, Maria is now a full-time
teacher at a school in her community.

Don't give up.

Three powerful little words. A phrase Maria in the Dominican Republic lived by as she was working, raising her children and completing her teaching degree thanks to a scholarship she earned through Unbound.

Maria dropped out of high school at 17 years old. She found herself married with three children at 34, selling snacks and school supplies and making next to nothing. The teachers at her daughters' school would say how well her children were doing, but she knew she had to do something to make a change.

She went back to high school and graduated with honors. With her family's encouragement, she felt empowered to pursue her dreams of becoming a teacher, and enrolled herself in college.

"My father-in-law always encouraged me to become a teacher. He would always tell me that I had a gift for teaching," Maria said.

A friend of Maria's worked for Unbound and needed extra volunteers around the office. Maria signed up to help. She remembers struggling to pay her monthly college tuition and how difficult it all seemed.

Maria with her students.

"Many times I thought of giving up. It was too much for me. My [children], my husband, my house, my small business, the volunteer work and on top of that, my father-in-law became sick with cancer. … He was very close to me," she said. "Before he died, he told me, 'Do not give up, do not stop going to college.' I did not give up and, in spite of everything, I kept moving forward."

Local Unbound staff saw her desire to succeed and offered her a scholarship. She continued to volunteer, which helped her maintain her scholarship that eventually covered her full tuition.

Even when her tuition increased significantly, Maria's scholarship helped her cover the costs. She kept studying and now teaches 8th grade at the public school in her community.

Both Maria and her family are proud of her accomplishments.

"I always tell [my children] that one has to fight to accomplish dreams. Life is difficult, things can get complicated, but don't ever give up," she said, " … there is no better inheritance for our children than education."

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Education is the greatest hope children living in poverty have for a better life. The Unbound Scholarship Program helps deserving students pursue their educational goals of finishing high school, technical training or university. Not only does it provide assistance with tuition, transportation or books, but it also provides students with much-needed encouragement to complete their education. Learn more »

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