Samuel R. Ramos
I live in Fresno, CA. I come from an immigrant family. My grandparents came from Mexico to look for a better opportunity for their family. As a teenager I wasn’t taking life seriously and didn’t care much about school. My oldest daughter Alejandra was born when I was 17 years old and it was eye opening for me. I left school and didn’t graduate, got a job to provide for her and started taking responsibility as a dad. My grandparents were a big part of my life, they were there to help my mom raise my sisters and I. Growing up my dad was in and out of our lives and in and out of jail. My mother didn’t finish elementary and I just knew that I wanted to change that and finish school to honor the sacrifices my grandparents had to endure to give us a better future, but also be the best father my daughter could have. My oldest daughter is now 13 and I have three more children. I want to be an inspiration to them and teach them to never stop trying to better themselves and fight for their goals and dreams. Accomplishing high school graduation and starting college is something I wanted to do for them and my family. YouthBuild has been a blessing and I’m so thankful for this program. I’m proud of this accomplishment and I will keep pushing through every obstacle to succeed I hope one day to say I’m graduating college.
I am 22 years old. Oldest of five children. I was doing so bad in my first two years of high school and dropped out my 3rd year from Lloyd Continuation School. After much motivation from my family to graduate school I enrolled myself into Youthbuild with the help of my brother who was already enrolled into Youthbuild! It’s the best decision I ever made because look at me now, graduating! It maybe a few years after but late is better than never! I’m forever thankful to my family for keeping me motivated during the toughest moments, Youthbuild staff for making the environment comfortable and school fun but most of all for my mom for pushing me to do it, without her motivation I wouldn’t be where I am today, a 2021 graduate!
Benito Gilbert Cortez
I am 22 years old and i was born in Fresno, CA. I recently got out of prison in 2019, I got locked up right when I turned 18 and was incarcerated for 2 years. I just got off parole about couple months ago due to COVID and good behavior. During my parole time period I got into many different type of jobs at the Local Conservation Corps. Also was able to finish high school and get my diploma and was able to enroll into college with the help of my counselor. I felt like I was able to turn my life around and just focus on getting money and furthering my skills I will need for my daily life.
I am 25 years young. I have two beautiful daughter’s that prevented me from finishing my education. Being a teen mom isn’t easy, but through God all things are possible. My kids inspired me to keep moving forward and that it’s never too late to get an education. In Black communities, we need to break the generational curse and show our young melanin kids that the sky is the limit!
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I literally have no words to describe this happiness I feel for myself on receiving this opportunity. A big shoutout to the people who believed in me. I wouldn’t be here today without my family waking me up or pushing me to do better in school. High school wasn't easy for me because of all the issues I had. I remember people telling me I wasn’t going to make it anywhere so there were days weeks, months and even years I didn't going to school. I didn’t see the point because of all the negative messages I received. As soon I stepped my feet in youthbuild it was such a different energy. Literally the best high school I’ve ever been to out of all 6! Youth build is such one strong army and for them I wanna say thank you for everything and I love you all.