I didn’t have anybody to guide me through the college application process. I managed to get into George Washington University with significant financial aid, but I hadn’t planned on the registration fee. So I went online.
For my family, paying the $800 registration fee was out of our reach. My mentor suggested I try crowdfunding — which means creating an online campaign to raise money from my community and from strangers.
I was doubtful, but I was also in need. So I created my profile and website, explaining my situation. When I woke up 12 hours later, I had received more than $1000 in donations.
More and more people are turning to crowdfunding to pay for college fees and tuition. There’s a feeling of solidarity that comes with it. One anonymous donor gave me over 400 dollars, because she almost had to put off attending Columbia University because of money.
I’m so grateful to everyone who donated. Because of this experience, I know I have people in my community who trust me to achieve an education. I hope to come back to my community and run for office. One day, maybe I’ll make it to Congress.
Fernando Almaraz is a reporter with We’Ced Youth Media.