We are proud to announce Julie Santos as the April 2012 winner of the SR Education Group Women’s Scholarship!
Julie Santos is the first in her family to attend college and is the daughter of a Purple-Heart recipient—a fact which might help explain her instinctive need to place the needs of others ahead of her own, as well as the unspoken expectation that she be willing to risk her life for her beliefs. The opportunity to do just that came in 2010 with the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
Within ten days of the earthquake, Julie was able to raise $13,000 in donations and arrive in Haiti. She had no expectations, but she was determined to do everything to help. The possibility that she might have to suffer to save was simply understood.
Julie was born with an example of selflessness, but even knowing her father’s heroism could not prepare her for the strength she witnessed while helping rebuild in Haiti. In the wake of destruction and misery, humbling acts of selflessness emerged. She recounted one such experience on only her second day amid the recovery:
… as I wandered through a make-shift camp, I spotted a tiny, toothless old woman wobbling toward me. She began to cry hysterically, and in broken English someone explained that the woman’s family had all been killed in the quake and she was alone and too disabled to care for herself. She looked at me with hope, and instinctually I held her close and began to cry. People began offering me water and support to calm my grief. Before I knew it, the woman was rubbing my back with her small, fragile hands, telling me it was going to be okay. This experience was one of many that taught me about strength, community and resilience. I had come to help Haiti, but it was she who was helping me.
It was after her experiences in Haiti that Julie realized the world needed to see what she had witnessed—hope. It was a simple message and she was developing a way to frame it, but she needed the right education to fit everything together. As she put it, “there is a world of opportunities out there, the trick is learning how to connect need with resources.” This time, we are able to provide the resources for Julie’s need, as she pursues her degree in Web Design and New Media through Academy of Art University. Now that she’s found the education, we’re going to help her afford it.