Costa Rican youth works hard to get ahead
Children learn many things from their parents. Maria, 22, from Costa Rica, is going to school to become a nurse, has a job as a social worker with Unbound and is a former sponsored member and scholarship recipient through Unbound. She credits her parents, Francisco and Maria, with teaching her and her eight siblings many important lessons. One of the many values she and her brothers and sisters have learned from their parents’ example is the importance of hard work.
“We have always worked, since we were children,” Maria said. “Our parents instilled [work ethic] in us and taught us to recognize the value of things. By working, we learned to fight for what we wanted. In spite of the fact that we had to work, we had a very beautiful childhood.”
Growing up, Maria’s father worked in agriculture, growing beans, rice and other plants. He would hire others to help fertilize the plants, and Maria and her siblings helped. Since then, Francisco has moved on to a job as a construction assistant.
Maria’s mother, also named Maria, stayed at home and started a home business making pinolillo, a drink that comes from toasted corn and is flavored with cinnamon or cocoa. People come to their home to purchase the drink, though sometimes her mother goes into the community to sell her product.
“My mother is a fighter and is always trying to find a way to get us all ahead,” Maria said. “She isn’t the kind of mother who waits to see what happens.”
In addition to being examples to their children of hard work and providing them with first-hand experience, Francisco and Maria also wanted to give their children additional opportunities.
“My parents did everything possible so we could study,” Maria said. “They always told us that we need to study, but now that we’re older it depends on us if we want to continue studying.
“… [Education is] a fundamental aspect for every kid, because no one can steal that.”
Through her parents’ hard work and her sponsorship, Maria was able to complete high school. She wanted to study nursing, and eventually open a clinic in her community to provide services for low-income families, but didn’t have the funds to do so. That’s when Joseph from Tennessee, her sponsor at the time, stepped in and did something special.
“When I graduated from high school, I thought that I wouldn’t study,” Maria said. “My sponsor was interested to know what I would study. Then he asked me for a budget of the expenses to continue studying. After graduating I was interested in studying nursing, but I thought that would be a dream, but the opportunity was given. And my sponsor paid for my first semester and the second, too.”
When Maria first started her nursing degree, she worked as a maid cleaning hotel rooms and did volunteer work with an Unbound mothers group as a scholarship recipient through Unbound. Last November, she had the opportunity to take a job working with Unbound as a social worker while she continues to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse.
Before leaving the sponsorship program to work for Unbound, Maria had this to say about Joseph:
“I’m very thankful for him; he is one of the persons who has shown me a lot of love. I haven’t given him nearly as much, but he is always showing me that he is interested. It’s a big feeling. I say that I am fortunate to have a sponsor as great as him. All the sponsored children have their own sponsor, but mine is special.”
Maria has many good influences in her life, and with help from her parents, her sponsor and local Unbound staff, she’s working toward her dream.
“Studying is the best thing that has happened to me and the truth is that there’s always something more to aspire for,” Maria said. “You always have to fight for what you want in life. At any cost, you always have to have the motivation to say, ‘Yes I can.’ Now my life has changed a lot since I started to study, dreams are becoming reality and now here I am.”
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