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Ana Munoz's Fundraiser:

Ana Munoz

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Ana Munoz

THE STORY:

ALL WAYS UP FOUNDATION wrote -

My ultimate goal is becoming a medical examiner. Meanwhile, studying I would like to start buying a house for my mother, brother, and I to live in. I value the unity of family. Out of my family it is up to me to stand and be prepare for the accomplishment of a higher education. What makes me unique is that I am honest and hardworking. As a child I always had great admiration towards Julio. He was always cheerful and looked at the positive things in life no matter how hard things were. During summer days we would go to the rear of the apartments and find ourselves in a grassy place, very similar to a meadow. In that meadow, I would catch butterflies with Julio who was not only my brother but also my best friend, my guide, my protector. This memorable experience, was much more precious and magical than that of Disneyland. This was short lived however, when he decided to move 620 miles away. Soon thereafter, I started to realize that the world around me was not as I had envisioned it when he was around. I began noticing how much my mother struggled as a single parent trying to make ends meet, unable to keep things together due to her lack of education. As a result of these circumstances, I grew up selling peanuts, seeds, pistachios etc. illegally alongside my mother and brother. Growing up in a community in which young girls fall victim to sexual assaults, has forced me to stop helping my mother because of fear. Unfortunately, there was a time I had no other choice but to go selling on my own because I needed the money to pay for spikes, which were essential for running in track. I would be ignored my entire walk in the city of Huntington Park. However, the closer I got to the end my day I would experience words of encouragement, from an employee that worked in Casa Leaders Furniture, he told me, 'Te compro uno porque se que es dificil, pero echale ganas' ( I will buy a little because I know it is difficult, but keep trying). I nearly cried, because in spite of my adversity, I had been privileged to hear these encouraging words from a total stranger that sympathized with my struggle. Additionally, this experience served as a reminder of what my mom faces on a daily basis. Although this brings pain to my heart, it ignites my desire to make a difference. I would like to make a difference not only in my mother's and my life, but also in my brother's life.  His leaving us to pursue a job opportunity left me with many obstacles to overcome. Nonetheless, I learned to be more responsible in school in order to keep up with all of my assignments and duties as a student. Despite the constant ridicule from my classmates, my persistence to help my mother out, as well as keep up my good grades taught me to ignore all the negativity surrounding me. As I maintain good grades and continue to pursue my dream of obtaining a higher education, I hope my accomplishments will motivate Julio and others to finish high school and go to college. Receiving the Perlman Foundation Scholarship will benefit my life along with my community. After everything that I have been through, I have come to the conclusion that I will continue working hard in order to bring back that moment of unity and joy to my family. In addition, I would like to give back to my community by being a positive role model for other teenagers my age. I will do this by attending college, maintaining good grades and graduating from college with my forensic pathology degree. This path I have chosen to take, will allow me to accomplish what I value most, family and unity. The Perlman Foundation Scholarship will take me steps closer to reliving the happiness I felt while catching butterflies with my brother. An obstacle I have faced myself with is my mother’s skepticism towards South Los Angeles, the reason why I would attend school in Huntington Park despite living in South Los Angeles. Since South LA is known for violence and low state exam scores, she believed students were destined to fail. She had not understood that it was the individual’s persistence and not the school that made success achievable.  It was not until we could no longer afford bus fare, that this changed. When I arrived to Fremont High School in tenth grade, I struggled to adapt to this campus where I was constantly surrounded by trash and graffiti. The lack of school spirit was also very prevalent. In an attempt to deal with these obstacles, I decided to isolate myself by having minimal contact with my peers and going to the library during my free time. I did not want the school’s environment to distract me from focusing on getting good grades and reaching my university bound goal.  It was not until I joined Students Run L.A. in tenth grade that my loneliness diminished. I had found a place where I was able to fit in. Joining SRLA created another goal within me; to finish a 26.2 mile marathon and not let my sponsors down. I knew that finishing that marathon would symbolize that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.  I loved the air and speed while running, it took my mind off my everyday hardships. SRLA required both mental and physical endurance as well as a good attitude. Because I exhibited these qualities, I was privileged enough to be chosen as one of the twenty runners that would be sponsored by different companies. I knew that my daily 6-7 mile practice runs would give me the endurance needed to finish the marathon. In my mind I thought of all my sponsors that believed in me. During the marathon I overcame my physical pain by thinking of the triumphant feeling that awaited upon crossing the finish line. My mind envisioned the look of pride from all my sponsors waiting for me at the finish line. This same persistence has helped me succeed academically.  At times when I have felt that an assignment or task was too hard to complete, the reminder of how my strength had been fueled by my persistence, allowing me to finish this marathon, and the thought of all those who believe in me fuel that same persistence I have to reach my goal of getting a higher education, after I finish high school.

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