Former GEAR UP Student, VAMOS Recipient Pays it Forward

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WESLACO – A former GEAR UP student and a VAMOS scholarship recipient is giving back to her community.

Anahi Gonzalez said her experiences have taught her the importance of paying it forward.

She said she worked hard to earn the scholarship. When she learned she won, her and her family got emotional.

One of the founders of VAMOS, the Valley Alliance of Mentors for Opportunities, is Sonia Falcon. She said VAMOS was born back in 1996.

“It’s a Valley-grown organization, VAMOS. We got together with about 37 business leaders and met at Alonzo’s house and that’s where it started. We said let’s take care of our own kids and make sure they go to college,” she explained.

Gonzalez is one of the students that not only received the scholarship, but she’s also working on giving back to her community and GEAR UP.

“They did ask me to help them out with the GEAR UP classes. And so once a month, or so, I go into the classes with either elective classes or core classes and I lead the GEAR UP lessons. So the students are getting prepared for some things they might experience in college,” she said.

Gonzalez said it feels great to help others and succeed. She’s passing her success on to her brother and sister.

“It feels awesome, especially because my sister’s on her way. She’s already in her second year of college. She’s actually going into education. She’s going to follow my steps,” she said. “My little brother is about to start high school so everything is working our really well. I think my parents are really proud. I know they’re really proud to see me already starting my professional career and seeing my brother and sister leading that way.”

You can catch GEAR UP segments Thursdays on CHANNEL 5 NEWS at 5.