Elizabeth Lopez

Last updated: 2014

Elizabeth Lopez

2014 Beat the Odds Honoree

The daily struggle; living in poverty, growing up in the ghetto. A protective Elizabeth would hover over her younger sister as they walked the dreaded streets of her neighborhood to school. Crosses lined up and down the street showed proof the victims of shootings; each day becoming more aware of the violence and sadness that surrounds her. Elizabeth realized early in life that one’s environment does not shape an individual, it builds character and identity. She believed that dreaming of better, greater and providing for her family would be her motivation.

Her father a humble Gardner, and mother a laborer as a housekeeper in others homes, became the best means of income so that the family could survive. Two years ago Elizabeth’s father became ill with sharp pains in his stomach. Being a proud man, her father knew he could not pay for checkups and hospital bills having no medical insurance. He feared the possibility of surgery, which meant recovery time, time away from working, and thoughts of how his family would eat, how they survive. The sharp pains in his stomach yielded a forced hospital visit with unexpected news that he would have to get his appendix removed. What are we going to do, thought Elizabeth. To see her father in so much physical pain brought nights of crying with her little sister in the darkness. Would our father heal, would he one day get healthy again? With her father down, the family worried and scared of their reality. Soon Elizabeth’s two older brothers stepped up and took charge of the gardening. Months pass Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve spent in the hospital comforting her father so he would not be alone.

Elizabeth used her family as her motivation. She was observant, determined, and grateful and believed in herself that her families hardships would not affect her goals in life and that she would persevere. Throughout middle and high school, Elizabeth began to receive awards, honors and acknowledgment of her work ethic, in and out of the community. Enrolling in the California Scholarship Federation, leading the mandolin group at church on Sundays, and mentoring a group of preteen girls at the Mar Vista Family Center were humbling acts of purpose. Elizabeth dreams of a place where her story can inspire underprivileged children, and hopes that children everywhere will be freed from the shackles of poverty. A proud Chicana, Elizabeth; continues to make her parents proud, striving for her future, her families future, while most importantly being prideful in herself.