Husky Promise Scholarship recipient
Gladys and Sandy Mondragon were separated from their mother and father and appointed legal guardians of their three younger brothers when their parents were threatened with deportation. Gladys was still in high school; Sandy was a student at UW Tacoma. One of their brothers has a learning disability and another has a serious medical condition.
For several years the sisters struggled to stay in school while helping support their family. Gladys finished high school and enrolled at UW Tacoma. Determined to make a better life for herself and her family, Gladys is now a junior in the social welfare program. Her family is all together again, after two years of separation.
“This experience has helped clarify my values and accumulate a great interest in a social work career, deepening my devotion to serving youth with limited resources,” she said.
She volunteers at her former high school, helping freshman succeed in high school and college. She also volunteers at Goodwill’s REACH Center, where she is a peer mentor to four disadvantaged young people. She helps them conduct college and job searches, build their resumes, prepare for college and achieve their full potential.
Gladys has received several scholarships at UW Tacoma, including the First Step, Brotman Diversity Endowment and Husky Promise scholarships. She said the scholarships were a huge motivation for her, moving her to improve her grades. She made the dean’s list last year and is working hard in this year’s classes.
“I wouldn’t have been able to go to UW Tacoma without the scholarships,” Gladys said. Seeing Gladys and Sandy’s accomplishments encourages the three younger brothers, Gladys said. “It helps them and motivates them to see someone in the family go to college. Now they know there are resources in the community and they will work on the skills they need to be able to go to college.”
Gladys wants to work with disadvantaged young people when she graduates. Sandy, now a senior in social welfare, wants to work in the Hispanic community on issues of human rights, integration and families.