How Upward Scholars' Conversation Club inspired a student to “move up”

 
As an elderly companion, Doris takes her clients to the grocery store and doctor's appointments, communicating exclusively in English.

As an elderly companion, Doris takes her clients to the grocery store and doctor's appointments, communicating exclusively in English.

Upward Scholars student Doris was in a rut. Her job as a caregiver was taxing both physically and mentally, her schedule was constantly changing, and the pay was low. Then, she learned about an opening as an “elderly companion”, a position that would require her to take elderly clients to doctor’s appointments and on shopping excursions, communicating entirely in English.

“At first I didn’t believe I could do this job,” Doris says. “I’m a shy person and speaking English makes me so nervous.”

It was the Upward Scholars Conversation Club, which Doris attends regularly, which gave her the confidence to apply for the job.

Doris got the companion job. She’s earning more than before, and practices speaking English every day with a variety of people. Her goal is to be a nurse, a course of study she started in her native country, Colombia.

Doris is a regular at the Upward Scholars Conversation Club.

Doris is a regular at the Upward Scholars Conversation Club.

“The experience of Conversation Club showed me that I can communicate with people. I learned I like to talk to people. I wanted to practice more,” Doris says.

Doris credits her Upward Scholars tutor, Kelsey Austin-King, with her increased self-confidence.

Doris credits her Upward Scholars tutor, Kelsey Austin-King, with her increased self-confidence.

In addition to Conversation Club, Doris sites her Upward Scholars tutor as a source of her growing confidence. “My tutor motivates me all the time. She advises me. She says, ‘You need to keep trying. Don’t stop’.”


Thank you, Tania, for three amazing years of service!

After three years of supporting our students and running key programs, our student fellow, Tania Ventura, has accepted a competitive fellowship with Immigrants Rising. We are so thankful for all the late evenings, early mornings and weekends she's given to us in support of her Upward Scholars classmates!

Tania plans to continue her studies at Cañada College in Accounting and Business Administration.

At Upward Scholars, she will be greatly missed!


Upward Scholars is pleased to welcome two new staff members

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New Student Fellow Diana Viscarra has been an Upward Scholars student since Fall 2014. In spring 2019, she completed her AS in Paralegal Studies from Cañada College and is slated to complete her AA in Political Science in spring 2020. Welcome to the team!



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Milena Miyashiro began as our new half-time Program Coordinator on July 1st! Milena brings with her 15+ years of combined experience in the education, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors. Earlier in her career, she provide academic and college advising to high school students who, like our students, were the first in their families to pursue a post-secondary education. Fluent in Spanish, Milena holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Latin American Studies from California State University, Los Angeles.

 
Tania Ventura