ERICK ROMERO CORTEZ
When I first came to California from a small village in Guatemala, I felt very isolated as I spoke neither English nor Spanish, only my native indigenous language of Mam. Although neither of my parents were literate, I realized that learning English was the key to my new life in this country that would open the gateway to a college education. Within 3 years, I completed all the English as a Second Language classes the college offered and began taking transfer-level courses. I quickly discovered that I loved the social sciences and I became excited to pursue a degree in Sociology so that one day, I could help young people who faced challenges like my own. My educational journey was not always easy. Sometimes, my mental health suffered as I struggled with the responsibilities of working, volunteering in my community, keeping up my grades, and becoming a guardian to a minor. Yet with the support of my EOPS family, I have persevered. Without the EOPS book grants, I could not have afforded my textbooks. The guidance from my EOPS counselor has prepared me to take my next step and transfer to UC Davis next fall. I cannot imagine being where I am today without the support of EOPS!