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February 3, 2016 @ 12:56 am by admin

Opening the Door

Today, José Juárez is a junior at California State University, immersed in his business major and bright plans for the future. But a few years ago, all he could see was a closed door, and college behind it.

José came to Pasadena from Mexico at age five. By the time he was in high school, all he knew were part-time jobs and scraping by. But college was his dream.

There was no one to help him pursue it, though. His parents knew less about college than he did. His high school counselors were stretched too thin for individual attention. So José didn’t understand his options, or the complicated application process. He did not know about financial aid or tuition waivers. The closer graduation loomed, the further away his dream slipped.

Then one day, he heard about a program from the Masons. It changed everything.

José was nominated for Investment in Success, a college success program created by the Masons of California. It recognizes students who might be overlooked for traditional scholarships, or who need help navigating the obstacles of higher education. Ninety-five percent of these students are the first in their family to attend college. The program offers them a financial scholarship, but more importantly, pairs them with advisors who help with everything from securing state financial aid to selecting courses.

If not for Investment in Success and the Masons of California, “I don’t know if I would be at Cal State – or even a community college,” José says. “I’d probably be working at a restaurant, living at home with my parents. They’re proud of what I’m doing. I don’t have to depend on anybody.”

In another few years, José may be running his own business. With a college degree, he can put his skills and ambition to work in almost any industry.

Give to the Annual Fund today and you’ll change someone’s future. Whether by supporting equal access to education at the California Masonic Foundation or fraternal relief through the Masonic Homes, your tax-deductible Annual Fund gift touches lives and makes the world better.

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