Before Elvira's father passed away, he made her promise that she'd become a doctor. At the time Elvira honored her father's last wish, she was just seven years old.
Shortly after his death, Elvira's mother uprooted the family from Mexico in hopes of launching a new beginning and relocated them to California.
Transitioning to life in the United States was difficult. Elvira's mother was a single parent of the three, working two full-time jobs, attending evening ESL classes and desperately trying to support her family. After several years of watching her mother's struggle, Elvira began juggling school and work to help off-set the economic pressures her mom was facing.
While working, going to school and maintaining a high GPA, Elvira's grandmother was diagnosed with Cancer. The tipping point had been reached and Elvira could no longer handle all the stress.
As a courtesy, Elvira went to her high school counselor to advise of her painful decision to drop out of high school. The counselor was overwhelmed and clearly overworked. Elvira could barely get a word in edge wise before the counselor's phone would ring or another student would knock at the door. However, right before Elvira was getting ready to walk out - she noticed a brightly colored flyer on the counselor's desk. The paper had big bold letters that spelled S-A-S-S-Y and had a tagline that promised to help at-risk teens.
Elvira took the flyer and walked out of her counselor's office, with the intention of never returning to high school.
She took the flyer home and read it to her mother. Much to Elvira's surprise, her mother not only encouraged her to explore the SASSY program at JobTrain, but shared how much she enjoyed being a student there and learning English.
The SASSY program is an acronym for Students After School for Successful Youth. It's a program that helps students earn requisite high school credits through elective programs, so they don't have to drop out of high school.
Not only did Elvira thrive in the SASSY program, she became president of their student council and graduated from high school!
Elvira is now majoring in Chemistry at College of San Mateo and hopes to transfer to UCLA to study pre-med.
For Elvira, her mother's hardship, coupled with the health crisis her grandmother is battling - all underscore her need and desire to become a doctor.
"For the first time in my life, I want to become a doctor for me, and not just because my father told me to become one. I want to help as many people as I can, by providing quality and affordable healthcare to those most in need. After I graduate from UCLA, I'll go to Harvard Medical School and become the best surgeon I know I can be."