Monica's Motivational Journey
The Texas Story Project.
Her smile is the equivalent of her laugh, unique. She's capable of lighting up the room with her bubbly voice, always making the atmosphere at ease towards all new people. Monica Ramirez is a proud member of Kym's Kids which provides students with scholarship money through their passionate volunteering around the San Antonio area. When first meeting her, the bright pink jacket with a noticeable design labeled "Kym's Kids" arouses curiosity about what it stands for. Additionally, her casual pair of jeans and sneakers sets her style as comfortable. Although she is young, her maturity results in gaining lots of respect from both adults and peers. And this is her encouraging Texas Story of her journey so far here in San Antonio.
She is the oldest twin in a family of five. Of course, being a twin can have pros, such as having a close relationship experience with someone identical, while the con for Monica was being known as "the older twin." As she grew up, Monica was raised in a Hispanic middle-class household, where getting things is earned through hard work and motivation.
"My family was always strict in earning things on your own," says Monica," we either worked for it or didn't get it at all."
As Monica reached high school, she didn't expect the pressure of deciding her future by the end of sophomore year. "I couldn't even decide what to eat at that age." Monica panicked about the pressure. Her counselor advised her to take it one step at a time. One day, she felt the pressure of life expectations suffocating her. As she lay in bed, her mother realized that something seemed wrong.
Monica mentioned that the high school urged them to decide on what to be for the future. Before she could go on her mother interrupted her with a hug, providing reassurance that life is not meant to be planned out. It is unpredictable.
"It was motherly instincts, you know," says Monica, "she just knew I needed someone."
Soon after, Monica felt supported with her life decisions and pushed her grades back up to A's.
Like everyone, Monica has motivations for life that keep her going in the toughest of times. Her motivation is her daughter. "I work so hard to give her everything I've never had," said Monica as she deeply emphasized how she wants her daughter to, "grow up in a better San Antonio." But rather than simply hope the best for her daughter's future, Monica commits her own talent and time. "If I want my daughter to grow in a strong community, I am responsible to begin that change." Although Monica is still trying to reach her own goals, she will selflessly place her daughter's bright future in front of her own.
After her daughter's birth, Monica got the job at Kym's Kids. "We take students from all over San Antonio to different nonprofits such as the Food Bank, Haven for Hope, City Kingdom for Kids Build, Furniture for a Cause, etc."
Monica's job title is Communication Editor. She designs all the marketing material, the monthly newsletters, official website updates, and does the event planning. Yes, she has heavy responsibilities, however Monica can only describe the amazement in watching students volunteer, "giving back to their community…and giving disadvantaged families so much more." Monica is an inspiration. One day, her daughter will see her mother as a powerful woman with determination and great aspirations.
Monica overall describes her job as maintaining and connecting with all her students to make sure they are on track for completing their requirements within the program along with their own academic goals.
"Having my daughter during sophomore year in college, there were lots of times when I wanted to give up," says Monica as she explains how the memory of her CCD teacher, Debbie, influenced her not to quit school. Going to Saturday school since the beginning of Kindergarten, there was always one consistent person who gave her all to make her church as youth-driven as possible. Debbie had breast cancer since she was seventeen and spent her whole life giving back to her community. Monica deeply admired Debbie who spent her own money for organizing retreats, leading their youth nights every Wednesdays, along with making breakthroughs with everyone she met. She blessed her with a phrase of wisdom one day, "Be the person you needed when you were a child." Those simple words to this day make Monica never give up no matter how hard life might be.
Monica's job makes her strive for the best outcomes because her work affects others' futures in college. She generates three goals every year, "First: How can I make my coworkers know that I really appreciate them? Second: What is something new in the communication industry that I can use in our program? Thirdly: What is my goal number of students I want to bring on? I try to separate that monthly, because I believe in quality over quantity." Her realistic goal-setting is what makes Monica never stray from the path of success. She learned the hard way by taking on 21 hours one semester, causing her to fail some classes. "It's all about finding your balance and remembering that it's not a race, it's a way of life."
Now Monica has graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a 4.0 GPA, making the President's list. Monica received a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Communication with a Minor in Nonprofit Management, and went on to earn a certification in Nonprofit Social Media Communication from the University of the Incarnate Word.
Monica's core value "to live compassionately" lets her impact others both on the job and in her personal life. The way she sees change is by doing it, "one person at a time," not all at once. "I love that we are all capable of lending a helping hand. The choice is completely up to us."
Elizabeth M. Gomez, a sophomore from St. Mary's University, is majoring in Forensic Science Chemistry. Her dream is to be a leading forensic scientist, discovering new methods in the field of criminal investigation.
Posted March 22, 2018
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