HISTORY OF THE SCHOLARSHIP
The Juan Garcia Farmworker Scholarship started in 2009 with the awarding of three scholarships. Now, every May since 2010 five scholarships have been awarded to worthy students who meet the criteria. So far all recipients have been from Reedley High School in Reedley, California which is in the San Joaquin Valley. Each scholarship's amount is dependent upon that year's fundraising. For example, in 2016 we gave 31 students $600 scholarships. In the last few years, as a need for this financial assistance for children of farmworkers has been established, more and more students who meet the criteria are applying for the farmworker scholarship. The JGFS obtained CA nonprofit status in 2013. All of your contributions go 100% to the scholarship recipients and are tax deductible.
WHY WAS THE SCHOLARSHIP STARTED?
Farmworkers provide critically needed services to the agricultural industry in the San Joaquin Valley. Latinos overwhelming do the majority of the farm work. Field hands live in poverty conditions and generally do not have the skills and education to do any other work. Many farm laborers work from sun up to sun down for minimum wages or by piece work. Their wages are under the national hourly minimum because there are no other jobs available and few labor unions to protect them. The working conditions are miserable, marked by extreme heat in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. Laborers often accept these conditions given the lack of job security and their great need of work. The seasonal nature of farm work is an additional burden, forcing laborers to migrate with the harvest — whether from farm to farm or from state to state — or face months at home without work. Most field workers do not have health insurance and many do not seek government-assisted medical clinics for fear of being deported because they are undocumented.
Children of farmworkers suffer the same hardships as their parents. Too often they become invisible because they are difficult to track down when families follow the crops, and their education is often interrupted when they have to work in the fields to help their families. Therefore, the lives of these children are defined by hard labor and instability which often results in dropping out of school before they earn a high school diploma. Parents are so busy working to provide the basics of food and shelter they often unintentionally neglect the education of their children.
Although all parents want a better life for their children, far too many of them do not have the time and knowledge to orient their children towards higher education. Far too many children, especially girls, do not get the encouragement they desperately need from their families to pursue a college education, and many parents do not support their children’s educational goals because they do not think they can afford college. Most students who apply for this scholarship will be the first in their families to attend college. The Juan Garcia Farmworker Scholarship was created to lessen the financial burden of higher education and to encourage and support these students to finish high school and pursue their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT TO DATE?