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Dedication & Direction: Jake’s Story

Jake joined America Needs You during an emotionally difficult period in his life. What started out as a diversion turned into a passion and, ultimately, a new direction for his career.

Being part of ANY opened Jake’s eyes to perspectives and experiences that were very different to his own. He also witnessed incredible perseverance first-hand. His Fellow, Alma, drove an hour to and from campus each day, worked a part-time job to help her family make ends meet, and acted as a mentor to her younger siblings when she arrived home in the evening.

Mentorship and encouragement made all the difference.

“I’ll never forget what Alma told me during a particularly demanding time after I assured her she was doing all the right things: ‘Thank you for telling me I’m on the right track…No one in my family understands why I’m doing all of the things I’m doing.’”

His first year as a Mentor Coach was so transformative, Jake felt compelled to take on additional responsibility and further support ANY’s fundraising, recruitment, and partnership efforts by becoming an Associate Board member.

By the time Alma graduated from the ANY program, Jake realized it was time to make advocating for students from low-income communities his full-time job.

“I have my (ongoing) experience as a volunteer for ANY to thank in large part for finding my path—and my passion.”

Today, he is preparing to enroll in law school to pursue a career in education policy and work toward systemic change that will close opportunity gaps for ANY Fellows and first generation college students everywhere.

Jake remains close with Alma. They are currently working together to identify the right short-term career move for her as she continues her journey toward leadership in healthcare by persuing a graduate degree. Alma plans to use her degrees and her ANY experience to provide more culturally competent medical care for Spanish speaking communities.

“Alma taught me more than I could ever hope to teach her, and I’m ready to dive into a career of speaking up for students as ambitious and civicminded as she is. Thank you to her and the ANY community, from the bottom of my heart.”

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