by Jazmin Medrano, Guest Opinion Writer and Truman Alumna
Since 2008, faculty and students of the Transitional Bilingual Learning Community (TBLC), along with dedicated and enthusiastic donors, have come together in the Fall semester to create the CardioFitness Workout and Nutrition Tips Fundraiser, which is not like any other kind of fundraiser. This is an event that simultaneously raises money for scholarships while raising awareness of the mind-body connection in what we do and what we eat. Led by trainer Dietrich Horsey, participants do circuit training for 30 minutes, followed by a student versus faculty/staff tug-of-war, concluding with a question-and-answer session about nutrition.
The latest fundraiser, on October 29, 2014, raised $1,500. Every single dollar of the $10 ticket goes directly to scholarships for undocumented students in Truman’s Transitional Bilingual Learning Community. Those who have participated in previous events to support the TBLC Scholarship Fund know that the personal impact exceeds its substantial monetary value. The CardioFitness and Nutrition Tips event is crucial for TBLC students because these students do not qualify for loans or financial aid; they have to pay out of pocket for their tuition and books. Because of the generosity from scholarships, undocumented students are able to reduce their financial burdens and pursue higher education.
Being a TBLC scholarship recipient is more than just receiving a scholarship. Students are involved in Truman’s events and organizations; they build their leadership skills, increase their connections to the school and community and stay involved as alumni.
As a TBLC alumna, I express my sincere gratitude to all the donors who contribute to events such as the CardioFitness Workout and Nutrition Tips Fundraiser. As many students in the TBLC, going to college was a dream to me. My financial situation made it almost impossible, but the TBLC program made my dream a reality. I was accepted into the TBLC in 2006. By that time, I had finished Truman College’s ESL program, but I was aware that I did not have the necessary level of English proficiency to apply to a university. I learned about the TBLC program through my sister, another TBLC alumna. I was sure that the program was perfect for me. I saw it as the first step and the best path to take to pursue my dreams.
The TBLC program prepared me for college-level courses within a period of two semesters. I was able to improve my English writing and reading skills, I learned the U.S. system of higher education, I made friends that eventually became part of my family and I met a group of dedicated and talented faculty members whom I admire and with whom I still maintain a close relationship. I obtained an Associate’s Degree from Truman College in 2008. In same year, I transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Linguistics in 2010. I’m currently studying for my Master’s Degree in Hispanic Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and I plan to pursue a second Master’s in Speech Language Pathology.
Thanks to the TBLC scholarship, my success and the success of many TBLC students have inspired younger generations, and even older family members, to pursue higher education after high school. That is why it is vital to sweat at the CardioFitness Fundraiser. Every jumping jack and every sit-up represent the efforts of the participants and donors who enable the TBLC to continue changing the lives of its students with limited financial resources.