Posted: Mar 23, 2012 8:13 AM
Updated: Mar 23, 2012 8:13 AM
GEAR UP first started back in the year 2000 and now some of those former GEAR UP students are giving back.
Mauricio Villegas Jr. now works for State Farm Insurance. He attended this GEAR UP conference because he wants to give back to the program that gave so much to him.
"Seeing what I went through when I was small and seeing all these kids here and just helping them with information and just looking at them and just being a positive impact for them and one day I was them and in the future, I could become much more of what I am today," he says.
Mauricio was one of the first GEAR UP students. "Yes, I was once one of the first students for GEAR UP. I'm so grateful that I met GEAR UP and that they helped me out and they have been a pathway to me. They helped me pave my path and to whatI am today."
Mauricio says all of the GEAR UP activities he attended in 2000 inspired him to attend college.
"Well GEAR UP, I was always positive, I was always going to go to college, you know, they were always pushing me. My GEAR UP counselors, I got to see universities that I would never have dreamed of stepping into. GEAR UP facilitated that, gave me a lot of information, helped out my parents. It made it easier for me to go to college."
GEAR UP motivated Mauricio to attend college. Now everyone else in the family is excited about getting that degree.
"And with that, I have siblings that followed after that. My sister graduated from Hawaii, and Ii have a brother who is currently in Pan Am and a mother who is going to graduate in May.....but I was the first."