“I remember you from the bank,” called out one student as Juan entered the classroom. “You talked to me while my mom was with a teller.”
Juan Mora, a program manager for Wells Fargo, was visiting Alcott Elementary School in Pomona to share his education and career journey. At least one boy in the class remembered seeing Juan at a local bank branch, but for others his was a brand-new face in the classroom.
The students were eager to hear from Juan. Sharply dressed in his navy blue suit and tie, Juan displayed a sense of professionalism the children were drawn to.
As he began his presentation, Juan quickly established that he and those students were little different from each other. He grew up in a local neighborhood, was the first in his family to graduate from college, and he was here to emphasize the importance of these 5th grade students’ studies to their future career success. He talked about his family, college, first jobs, and how he’s landed several promotions through hard work.
“I hope that sharing my story gives people hope,” he told me after the presentation. “I want these kids to know that their goals are achievable through hard work and education.”
Juan was joined by other business professionals from UPS, Loma Linda Health, and a local Center for the Arts. It was all part of United Way’s Launch Point college and career readiness program being implemented this school year in Pomona, Fontana, Adelanto, and Hesperia.
Cynthia, one student in the class, thanked Juan writing, “You inspired me to continue studying to reach my goal of becoming a teacher or a nurse.”
Launch Point also provides the opportunity for students to visit a college campus, and provides college information to inform parents of career training options after high school.
As Mr. Arretche, Alcott Elementary principal, stated, “When families are face to face with others who have achieved higher education, they see that possibility and are more likely to pursue those important steps.”
To learn more or volunteer with Launch Point, visit IEUW.org/ LaunchPoint.