“When I got to Boys Hope Girls Hope, I felt like I really belonged.” Jessica said, “If I didn’t have the program, I’d be lost."
Jessica’s parents were born in Mexico. Her mother came to the US when she was 12 years old and her father when he was 17. Jessica’s mother had the opportunity to finish high school in the US while her dad went straight into the workforce. When they came to the United States, her father worked in construction and her mother as a nurse and later, in construction.
Watching her parents over time, Jessica developed a keen interest in engineering and medicine. She ultimately wants to research biomaterials and learn how to create medical devices that the human body will accept. To do this, Jessica will begin her college education at Colorado University in Boulder this fall, where she was awarded the Regent and Impact Scholarships and has plans to pursue a biomedical engineering degree. Jessica also hopes to find a biomedical program abroad where she can study for a semester in college and practice her Spanish language skills.
Upon starting high school at Aurora Central High School, Jessica joined the Boys Hope Girls Hope of Colorado academy program She said that school was always her escape in life, “the most fun part of my day.” As Jessica grew older, she was told she was gifted and had high academic potential, but she didn’t feel she had the support to leverage her talents until she found Boys Hope Girls Hope. “When I got to Boys Hope Girls Hope, I felt like I really belonged.” Jessica said, “If I didn’t have the program, I’d be lost. It was very helpful to have that extra community that wanted me to be there.”
Laura Conti, Program Director of Boys Hope Girls Hope of Colorado, said of Jessica, “Jessica is intrinsically motivated to make a difference. She channels her energy, persistence, and talent into projects that have local impact and global vision.
Whether crafting turtles out of discarded plastic straws for an environmentally-themed art installation or tutoring elementary school students in science, Jessica gives her all.” Emily Faulkner, Program Manager, said, “Jessica does not wait for opportunities to come to her. Rather, she seeks them out. Sometimes, she creates them.”
When asked her thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic, Jessica said, “It has laid the bones bare to view how we can fix things. America has a huge homeless population, and a lot of people who don’t have a steady income to pay their rent.” Jessica said she’s excited to go out into the world now and find ways to make a difference in solving challenging problems. “Seeing the way that my family struggled,” she said, “makes me want to be a person who can give back because I’ve been given so much.”
Photos: 1) Jessica after her high school graduation; 2) Jessica with her father.