An Exercise in Hope

Posted by Guadalupe Broetje, RISE Scholars Program Coordinator

Guadalupe Broetje and RISE scholar Kernay Lay

Esperanza is a word deeply engrained in every fiber of my being. For many immigrants esperanza, or “hope,” goes deeper than wishing for something to happen. It is a faith practice, trusting that situations will change for the better.

After my birth in Mexico, my parents made the tough decision to continue their lives in the United States and to place their trust in better opportunities for themselves and their children abroad. With two small US-born children and my infant self in tow, they set off to lay down roots in Washington State and to leave behind their cycle of migration. Eventually my parents purchased their own home, my siblings and I graduated high school, and we each completed a college degree. This year we are now celebrating the third generation’s accomplishments in college, all thanks to my parents’ foresight and trust that, if we work hard, take the right steps, and look to those who have graciously guided us to accomplish our goals, each of us will succeed.

My own journey through college helped me connect to my passion for helping guide others through their own college journeys. When I decided to pursue my post-secondary degree, I found that there was a lot to the process of applying for college, and I received help from many advisors and high school teachers. Once there, I struggled to understand who I was, what my gifts were, and how to plug-in well enough to feel supported and successful in my program of study. Though I had accomplished what I set out to do, it would be many years before I saw my work pay off.

Today, I serve as the RISE (Resilient Inspired Student Engagement) Scholars Program Coordinator here at Broetje Family Trust, and my esperanza for this program is that the youth we serve embrace their own God-given gifts so that they too may help serve others. Each year we walk alongside a cohort of youth who are willing to participate in meetings that help them understand themselves more deeply and learn to serve in community. We remind our scholars that, despite their uncertainties and failures, they are trusting in a future pay-off for themselves, their future families, and their community.

September 15-October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month, and its theme is “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope.

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