When Karla Reyes talks about her family, you see a sense of warm pride wash over her face. As the San JoséState University senior describes her college journey, she is quick to share that without the support of her family she might not be graduating this May. Still looking back on her sophomore year, Karla knew finishing her business administration degree would take more than the love of her family and outstanding grades she was earning.
“My parents didn’t have a fund for us to go to college,” said Karla. “When I started to look at different resources that’s when it really hit me. I wasn’t sure I would still be able to afford college at that point.”
Born in Mexico City, Karla and her family came to the United States when she was just nine-years-old. Karla’s mother had some college and her father completed the fifth grade. Both parents valued education but didn’t have the resources to help their talented daughter pay for her education. Karla says Opportunity Fund changed her college outlook from stressed to hopeful with the matched microsavings program.
While working three part-time jobs, Karla was able to save $75 a month for her education. The program provided Karla with a 2:1 match for every dollar she saved. The program is also backed with financial education classes covering budgeting, credit repair, and goal-setting.
“I felt like I was learning a lot by saving and I was also learning a lot by being able to understand how to budget...It wasn’t just about giving money it was about empowering people,” Karla said.
Karla finished the program with $6,000 in savings -- enough to pay for most of her time left at SJSU. With graduation now just a few months away, Karla is excited to walk across the stage in May and look into the crowd at her family who have been her heart and inspiration through college.
“Continuing my education hasn’t just been about me. It has been about showing the rest of my family that it is possible,” Karla said.
Inspired by Karla’s story? Meet another Opportunity Fund student who needs your help TODAY. Find out how you can be part of their journey toward college.