Confidence, it seems, can be contagious. For Aracely, an Unbound scholarship student and sponsored youth, it has also been liberating.
Aracely lives in Mexico. When she was 13 her father abandoned the family, leaving Aracely’s mother no choice but to work long hours earning a living by cleaning other people’s homes.
It hit Aracely hard when her father left, and local Unbound program coordinator Ezequiel Pool Cituk wanted to encourage her. He had an idea about how to help Aracely rediscover joy in her life.
Ezequiel needed help with some of his organizational tasks for Unbound. Knowing that Aracely was a gifted student and a hard worker, and eager to help her through the heartbreak of her father’s abandonment, Ezequiel asked her to serve as his assistant.
“[I said to her,] ‘Aracely you are a smart girl,'” Ezequiel said. “‘You will take care of the attendance list, take note of how many mothers we have, [and] have them sign the attendance. Pay close attention to the things that I will talk about. If someone has a question, you can write it down. Don’t be afraid, you can do this.'”
Aracely was appreciative, but nervous. Small for her age and quiet by nature, she worried that others wouldn’t take her seriously.
“I was a little scared because I didn’t know much,” Aracely said. “I wasn’t good at talking and I was very shy. I began to realize that being honest about my fears was the best thing that I could do. I talked to [the sponsored mothers] clearly, and to my good surprise, they understood and even helped me overcome them.”
Also to her surprise, Aracely began to discover within herself leadership qualities. Those qualities would be tested the next year when, as the only Unbound scholarship student in the local program, she took on the additional role of teaching some of the younger children.
The kids tested her at first but soon came to respect Aracely. Sponsored child Rogelio spoke about it.
“Before we would only come here to ‘monkey around,'” he said. “Now, Aracely teaches things to us and talks about stuff. She helps us with our letters. Aracely is very kind and organized.”
Ezequiel’s confidence in Aracely has paid off and he’s happy that he could be there for her at a difficult time.
“I advise her on working hard and the importance of her education,” he said. “I want her to know that we appreciate her courage, her strength and her commitment to help others. Now she is in high school and I am proud of her.”
Like so many young people who have benefited from being sponsored through Unbound, Aracely now wants to help others.
“I get many questions from sponsored kids,” she said. “They ask, ‘Is it hard to do this?’ And I just talk about how great it makes me feel. I tell them that I love to work, play and talk with them and with the staff.
“Thank you, Unbound, for giving me the chance to share time with the sponsored of my community. I hope I get to do this for a long time.”
Learn more about how you can support scholarships for promising students like Aracely.