When Arianne Moseley took her truck in to get the tires refilled, the service manager apologetically told her that her tires were so old that doing so would be too dangerous. He then pointed out that she was putting lives at risk whenever she got behind the wheel.
With four children ranging in age from 12 to 21 still at home, the Grossmont College student depended heavily on the 10-year-old truck, but she heeded the warning and began riding the bus to get around. The Lakeside resident said it took 1½ hours to get to get to the campus from her Lakeside home.
“I did a three-hour commute five days a week because of classes and my work-study job on campus,” said Moseley, an administration of justice major who eventually wants to help prison inmates with recovery.
A student worker in the Extended Opportunities Program and Services office, Moseley was familiar with Dreamkeepers, and decided to seek help.
“It was awesome – I was truly blessed,” she said. “I got $500 and through connections my ex had, I was able to get four new tires out the door for my truck. I no longer had to put the lives of my kids at risk.”
For Edgar Torres, going without a car isn’t an option. He lives in San Ysidro with his parents, a sister, a nephew and a niece, and works as a security guard in El Cajon in addition to attending classes at Cuyamaca. He knew he had a big – and expensive – problem on his hands when his car’s intake manifold began leaking. An auto tech student at Cuyamaca, Torres usually takes matters into his own hands when it comes to car problems, but this was no simple fix.
“I was worried about what I could do when someone in my automotive class told me about a Dreamkeepers grant he had gotten through the college,” Torres said. His father is disabled and his mother works as an elementary school aide, so Torres, 29, the primary breadwinner for his family.
“I was like, whoa, I could use some of that help,” he said, adding that a payday loan would have probably been his only other option to fix his car.
When he received the welcome news that his application for a Dreamkeepers grant had been approved, Torres was ecstatic. The grant covered the $500 car repair bill and also provided him a gas card to help pay his travel expenses.
“There are so many students with needs,” said Torres, who is working toward earning the advanced automotive certification to become a technician. He aspires to start up an automotive brake shop of his own and then someday, expanding his business into a franchise. “I am so very grateful and appreciative to have been considered for the Dreamkeepers program.”
After two years at Cuyamaca College, Torres is looking to transfer to San Diego State University as a business major to obtain the know-how to become an entrepreneur. And somewhere down the line, he hopes to return to a community college, next time to teach in an automotive program.
“You have to just keep your eyes on the prize,” he responded when asked what he thinks is the secret to success.
After getting laid off from her job as an office manager for an auto glass repair shop, Roberta Steele decided to return to school to pursue a career in healthcare. That move is certain to pay off once she completes her nursing degree at Grossmont College, but living on $700 a month in government assistance and a small stipend from a work-study job is tough, especially for a single mom with two young twins. With a bachelor’s degree in theater from San Diego State University already in hand, her financial aid options are limited by guidelines limiting aid only to those without university degrees.
When she lost her mother last year, Steele wasn’t sure if she could continue college. She said a $500 Dreamkeepers grant came in the nick of time, providing a financial and morale boost, as well as the incentive to continue her studies.
“I would have never made it, had I not gotten the $500 from Dreamkeepers,” said Steele, who used the money to pay rent. “ I’m an older student in my 50s and these past few years have been really difficult. I lost my home to foreclosure. I received my bachelor’s but couldn’t get hired at any of the technical writing, PR, or marketing jobs I had been applying for. It was like beating a dead horse. I even did quality control work. When I finally did find work as an office manager, the business shut down because the economy had gotten so bad. Returning to school to pursue a nursing career is like getting a second chance.”