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Jason Cruz Got a 4.0 for his Family

Three years ago I was laid off from work just weeks after finding out my wife was pregnant with our second child. I struggled to find work and the pressure was mounting. I had a mentor at the time that said that I am a very caring and considerate individual and suggested I look into pursuing a career in nursing. I went to a nursing workshop at SDCCD and knew this is where I belonged, but I had no idea if it was even possible with my circumstances. I was thirty-five years old at the time and it had been a long time since I had graduated high school.

The real challenge was the fact that I had a growing family and very limited income. To my surprise, I was graciously given the opportunity to go to college for the first time in my life and I knew that I would have to put it all on the line. I learned of the CalWORKs program and gave it a try. I am grateful every day for the love, support, and generosity that they have given me each step of the way.

None of what I have accomplished so far would be possible without the CalWORKs program. It hasn’t been easy, but CalWORKs has made it possible. The CalWORKs staff has gone above and beyond. They have become my family and have guided me through everything.

I fought tooth-and-nail to earn a 4.0 GPA in my prerequisite classes and was one of only sixty students were chosen out of over six hundred applicants to be accepted into SDCCD’s nursing program. The reason this was so impactful to me was because of what it took for my family and I to even get to the point of applying.

We now have three children with one on the way. All five of us sleep in the same room so that we can afford for me to go to college and pursue a nursing career. We receive benefits from the state each month just to survive while I go to school to try and better my family’s future. With the support and sacrifice of my wife and 3 beautiful children I have successfully made it through 3 ½ years of college. I am now going into my last semester of nursing school at San Diego City College.

Month after month we struggle financially. In tears and sleepless nights my wife and I have learned to lean on each other for the support we need to push through the hard times. My children often go without a lot and it hurts my heart. I try to remind them that what makes us truly happy are not things. My wife is my hero. Every day while I am at school she selflessly cares for our 4, 3, and 1 year old. She gives the most and at the same time goes without the most. I owe her the world and I plan on giving it to her.

Bette Davis fan, obsessive crocheter, roaster of beets, maker of home-made horchata, USC MPA, CalWORKs Director, lover of South Pasadena, writer, mother, founder of Slothuary.

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