“Partnership 4 Kids never lost hope in me, you gave hope to me and to my family.”
Elva Ramirez is one of 100 students in the Partnership 4 Kids scholarship program. She is working towards a degree in Public Health at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Elva joined P4K as a freshman at Omaha South High School, after she learned how much her friend enjoyed being in the program. Finally, Elva asked how she could sign up. Elva applied, interviewed and was accepted into P4K by then Program Coordinator, Nick Sasada. “I remember Nick was such a nice person. He always said hi, and knew who I was. It felt nice to be in P4K,” she says. Elva fondly recalls the various group outings, job fairs and college tours she participated in as a student in the P4K group mentoring program.
Although Elva is a first-generation college student, college attendance was an expectation. It became harder for her to realize this family expectation after she gave birth to her son during her junior year of high school. Despite this unexpected challenge, encouragement from her family and Partnership 4 Kids helped Elva graduate high school and earn the P4K college scholarship.
Elva quickly learned that raising a son became even harder in college. She struggled to balance school, her son, work, and a personal life. “As a mom, I wake up at 5 a.m. to study, then I bring my son to day care, race to get to class on time, study, pick up my son, then do household work before putting him to bed, & study some more. It’s a struggle,” she admits. “It’s very different than what other students face.”
During her first semester, this balance of family, work and school was too much to handle and resulted in a 1.335 GPA. “Thankfully, P4K kept helping me,” she says. “Partnership 4 Kids never lost hope in me; you gave hope to me and my family”.
Elva met bi-monthly with her P4K college program coordinator to review classes, study skills, time management and more. Additionally, Elva’s college program coordinator helped her apply for and gain admission into Project Achieve, UNO’s TRiO Program, which helped to surround her with support.
In her second semester, Elva improved significantly. She earned a 2.75 GPA and is on track to continue improving in her second year!
Elva admits the changes she’s made to improve her grades such as blocking out study times, organizing her schedule, meeting with tutors, P4K and Project Achieve may seem like simple changes, but “There are [still] times when I want to give up. Times when I want to drop out,” she concedes. “But thanks to P4K, I know I can provide a better future for my son. I know I’m a strong woman and I will do this”, she proudly proclaims.