Catalyst to High School and College Graduate Valeria

Valeria, an ALearn alum, is a graduate of Sonoma State University and has already accomplished her first goal – to run a nonprofit benefiting youth.

  • I don’t know where I would be without ALearn – I’m so thankful.


Valeria painfully remembers being labeled ‘English language learner’ and ‘low-income kid’ during high school, and how she struggled to try to fit in as a bilingual Latina. “I was shy in front of my high school peers, and had no confidence in my math and writing. Coming from a low-income background and being a minority – it is a lot to deal with. But through ALearn I made a lot of friends, and it has been very inspiring to me. The group was very diverse and the feeling was we’re all in this together. Being with classmates who were like me made a difference.”

Valeria has an innate passion for learning. While she embraced her parents’ strong work ethic and their support, she felt they didn’t really understand her since her experience is so different from theirs. A member of ALearn’s first high school class in 2008, ALearn offered the guidance and direction that her parents couldn’t, and gave her confidence to get beyond labels.

With a career aspiration of giving back and helping youth, Valeria gained valuable leadership skills as an ALearn teaching assistant for two summers. Her goal is to earn a Ph.D. in education.