A little over a year ago I filled out an application and sat down to write an essay. I had very little faith that I would be accepted into the Knowledge River program, as I am neither Latino nor Native American. I had already decided that I would get my Master’s Degree, but being accepted as a Knowledge River Scholar would help immensely (financially).
As I researched Knowledge River and learned what they do, what they have done, and what they believe, my essay became more important than the money. I knew that Knowledge River could be my connection to the work I feel most passionate about. Living and working in a predominantly Latino community, just a few miles from a Native American reservation, I have long been an advocate for access to information and especially early literacy programs for all. I strive to weaken the barriers that keep some families from the library (transportation, language, etc.) by ensuring that early literacy initiatives reach into every corner of our community. My passion runs even deeper than community. My four children have the advantage and disadvantage of being both White and Mexican.
I write this as I prepare to begin my second and final year of the program, as I contribute to preparations for the incoming Knowledge River Orientation, and as I plan the presentation I will give at the November AzLA conference with four of my fellow scholars. I cannot believe how far I have come! I live 100 miles from Tucson, yet I feel fully connected to this group and this program.
Knowledge River has sharpened my focus. I feel more passionate than ever that my contribution to society lies in my ability to support every parent and every child in their literacy journey. Along the way, Knowledge River has also changed me. I am more confident in my own possibilities, but more significantly, I am strengthened by my connections. I know that I am a small part of a greater network that will always be my foundation. Thank you Knowledge River.