Adventurous Teen Program Participant Wins Full-Ride Scholarship

Courage runs in Jaime’s family. Determined to master the English language, the young man moved to the United States by himself in 2015, following the example of his grandmother, who had moved from the highlands of Peru to the capital city, Lima, at the age of 16 with no money and no relatives to rely on. She sold fruit on the street and eventually worked in a grocery store.

When Jaime told his grandmother that he was venturing to the US, she told him: “Be great in everything.” She passed away soon after that, but he has not forgotten her words of inspiration.

Jaime started out in Georgia then moved to Washington DC when he realized there were more opportunities in the District. He attended a DC Public School, applied for all the programs he could (including a DCPS study abroad program that took him to Belgium in the summer of 2016); joined the soccer, tennis, track and field, and cross country teams; and did community service at the Latin American Youth Center and at Mary’s Center.

He joined the Mary’s Center Teen Program, where he tried out new experiences like bowling and ice skating, and made friends*, which was important for him, since he was on his own in this country. In addition, the Teen Program staff showed him how he could make his dream of going to college come true.  

“They looked at my college application essays and gave me advice. I was applying for so many scholarships, even ones that I wasn’t suitable for, so the staff helped me to streamline my applications. The staff are really doing a great job, because the teens need support, especially those who have difficult home situations.”

With the encouragement of Mary’s Center’s Youth Development Workers, Jaime stay focused on his goal and graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA and a high SAT score, which helped earn him a full-ride scholarship to the University of the District of Columbia.

Jaime started his college journey this fall. He plans to double-major in Economics and Computer Science, as he is fascinated by how people decide to use their time and money, and by how technology is changing the world. His ultimate goal, however, is to start a non-profit in Peru, to help other young people realize their dreams of higher education.

* One of those friends, Diana, bought him a sleeping bag to use during college visits. He treasures that gift and still uses it today.


Read about two more of Teen Program successes stories, Mikias and Hermann.

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