GROW Scholar Highlight: Meet Leslie Mariana

Meet Leslie Mariana, one of our GROW Scholarship Recipients!

The Scholarship Program

Poverty and wealth inequality are significant challenges in Mexico. About 18% of the country lives in extreme poverty, and among rural communities, school dropout rates, absences, and grade repetition are serious problems.

These issues are seen in settings like Cerro de Ortega, one of the communities where a lot of our scholars live, where there is a higher incidence of violence and drug abuse.

In this type of setting, children are often encouraged to start contributing to family finances rather than continuing school. This is because school means more expenses such as: internet access, commuting, uniforms, and school supplies.

Through the program that is administered in conjunction with Project Amigo, students and parents learn to understand the value of education and a pathway for a better future early on. The retention rate for those proceeding to middle school is 87% compared to 65% for those who do not participate in the program. Similarly, students from Cerro de Ortega who have been supported through GROW show a higher level of advancement to university than any other area of the state.

Meet Leslie Mariana

Leslie Mariana just started her senior year of high school. She lives with her parents, three sisters, grandparents, and an uncle. He father is a farmworker in the Tecomán region of Colima.

Leslie’s dream is to become a pediatrician when she grows up. She says she is, “grateful for the scholarship, which is allowing me to pursue my educational goals.”

The scholarship program not only covers educational costs but also provides mental, emotional, and community support through the weekly homework club and GROW center. Leslie shares that this has offered her “support, both academic and personal. They give me strategies for how to resolve problems and do better in school” and this has helped her grow, “the program has made me more responsible and strengthened my values, and has improved my quality of life.”

As a GROW Scholar, Leslie Mariana is responsible for maintaining a GPA higher than 8.5, performing 10 hours of community service each month, and attending homework club.

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