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Last updated: 2013
“Despite my mom’s best efforts, she wasn’t able to provide us with adequate conditions,” Marilyn says of her mother’s struggle to raise her and her brother alone. Marilyn’s father, once a good worker and role model, had succumbed to alcoholism and drug addiction. The more he drank, the less food there was on the table. When he attempted to kill Marilyn’s mother with an empty tequila bottle, she had no choice but to take Marilyn and her brother elsewhere. Her mother spoke poor English, and the only jobs she was able to secure were scarily able to cover rent and food. Consequently, the small family was constantly on the move, staying with whoever would take them in. With mom working multiple jobs, in her absence Marilyn looked to her older brother for guidance and support. He was happy to give it.
Marilyn is committed to providing a better life for her and her family. She recognized early that education was a precursor for success, and, despite her tremendous disadvantages, she is still able to compete with her more fortunate classmates. Her academic achievements have not gone unrecognized. She has a regular place on the honor roll and is a member of an assortment of academic clubs. Indeed, one former teacher has named Marilyn “the most thoughtful and intellectually sophisticated student I have ever had.” Marilyn is also committed to helping in her community. She is a member of Peace Volleyball and Youth United for Community Action, two clubs that help to inspire an awareness of environmental and social issues. As a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance, she also is an advocate of the LGBTQ community.
Marilyn, a junior, dreams of following in her brother's footsteps, graduating from college with a degree in Bio-Engineering. She refuses to forget her humble upbringing, and the sacrifices her mother continues to make to raise her. “Although my mom wasn’t able to give me the best childhood…she tried her best,” she says. “I won’t let her hard work go in vain.”
Watch her video Donate to Change The Odds