Thursday, March 21, 2013

UNCC freshman joins Citizen Schools executive team

Mary Espinosa.
Photo courtesy
This week, Mary Espinosa went to Washington, D.C., to join the executive team of Citizen Schools. 

On the team, Mary is helping lobby for the program and show the importance of its youth support programs.

Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to lengthen the school day for students from low-income families.

Mary is a freshman at UNC Charlotte, and she credits Citizen Schools with showing her the way to college.
She moved to Charlotte from California when she was in the sixth grade, and a year later, joined the Citizen Schools program. In the eighth grade, she participated in Citizen Schools' mentoring program that took students on college tours and talked to them about the importance of higher education.

"Going to real colleges motivated me to stay in school and work toward becoming the first person in my family to go to college," Mary wrote in an essay on the Citizen Schools' website.

Now, she is majoring in social work and is considering law school. "I want to help kids who come from immigrant parents have access to college," she wrote.

She said she hopes students in Citizen Schools programs take advantage of it: "It's about moving forward and being able to educate yourself. Prove everyone wrong who said, 'You can't do it,' because you can."