The Ramos Family Endowed Scholarship
The Ramos Family Endowed Scholarship was recently established at Children’s Fund with a $50,000 donation. In addition, the family also awarded four $2,500 scholarships to homeless and foster youth. In March 2018, Dr. Cid Pinedo, Children's Fund President & CEO, invited Supervisor James Ramos and his wife, Terri, to the office to discuss the motivation behind their gift.
Dr. Cid Pinedo: Scholarships for vulnerable youth and especially homeless and foster youth are a conduit to pulling themselves out of poverty. Why did your family decide to fund a scholarship for that specific population?
Sup. James Ramos: I think seeing homeless youth and foster kids and their plight encouraged us to then bring forward some type of a donation, monetary scholarships for them to pursue an education. Education is something that is important to us because for us, growing up, we knew what it was like to be a forgotten people. But, we also know what it's like to move forward and secure those dreams. And we want to make sure that people understand that their dreams are just as important as anybody else's.
Terri Ramos: There are a lot of students out there who have the means to be able to go to college. These kids do not and so we felt it was important to help this specific population. We wanted them to know that someone believes in them and wants to support them in their endeavors.
Dr. Cid Pinedo: This isn't just a scholarship from Supervisor James Ramos or Mr. and Mrs. Ramos. This is a Ramos Family scholarship. Tell us how that came about and why it was important to be set up that way.
Sup. James Ramos: Anytime you have individuals moving forward, that is one thing, but when you encompass a whole family, it becomes something bigger. You see in our family, from my parents to my sisters, to my daughters. It's something that is ingrained in us from my parents. It is who we are today. Being able to come together as a family shows a big support to those individuals that just need to know that someone cares.
Terri Ramos: There's a group of us that really want to help out, to help them out, and to give them a second chance.
Dr. Cid Pinedo: Some people believe that homeless means simply that you're sleeping in a car or on the streets. How do you define homeless and what do you want to do to help homeless?
Sup. James Ramos: There are different components of homelessness. We talk about chronic homelessness, and homelessness on the streets with families, which ties into the homeless youth. When we talk about homeless youth at the federal level, there seems to be a disconnect —we need to do a better job at understanding that our homeless youth who are out there on the street need the services and the attention of our communities. There are dreams of second chances for all people. Regardless of what situation they’re in, dreams should be attainable and there should be support in the community to help them get to those dreams.
Dr. Cid Pinedo: That's the American dream, right? And this should be open to all of us. Your scholarship is going to fill the students with hope and we know that because the four scholarship recipients this year have said that to us. This is more than just a transaction of money. It is transformational—they know that someone believes in them and is investing in them. How does it feel to hear someone say that?
Terri Ramos: That feels really good. If we have the means, why not help somebody who's kind of struggling to get to where they need to be? It is really nice to be able to help out.
Sup. James Ramos: Being able to get back into the communities and offering that hope shouldn't be something that the community is now saying, “oh, this is something that's great.” I think we all should be doing that in humanity— lifting one another up, each of us up, no matter what class you're from, no matter where you are in life. Everybody needs to have the understanding that we're in this together and then we can continue to lift each other up. We're going to be a better community for it.
Dr. Cid Pinedo: Why is education important to you?
Sup. James Ramos: There's few things in life that once you attain them, no one can take from you. It's your culture, your spirituality, and your education. Those three things are important. Once you attain those things, no one can take that from you no matter where you go in life. Our family knows that education is a key to success!
Dr. Cid Pinedo: What a great recipe for success. That's awesome. The Ramos Family Endowed Scholarship will help fund an education, not only at a college or university, but also any accredited vocational school. Why was it important to include that component in your scholarship?
Terri Ramos: Because not everybody is college bound. They're just not, and maybe they do not have time to go to school for four years, but they are still able to get some kind of education and still become something that they want to be.
Sup. James Ramos: Vocational, or technical trades, are important. The welders, the laborers, car technicians, first responders, law enforcement and paramedics— all those areas are just as important as long as you're moving forward in the direction of education, whether it's a four-year degree, a master's degree or vocational training in an area that serves the community.
Dr. Cid Pinedo: Your scholarship, while open to anyone that meets the criteria, states that a preference can be given to a native American student. Talk about why this is important to you.
Sup. James Ramos: When you look at the population of native Americans and the different data that's out there, it shows that native Americans suffer far greater than the average of any other group. We need to do a better job at lifting all people up. Being able to put that preference in there helps us to go back into the native American community and show that we genuinely care and that they are not alone.
Dr. Cid Pinedo: What do you say to someone that wants to contribute to a scholarship fund that is really going to make a difference, but feels that they can't make a large enough donation to make a difference? $10,000 or they can’t even give a thousand dollars. Talk about the importance of giving at any level and the impact that it can have.
Sup. James Ramos: There are numerous ways to give that can have significant impact. For us culturally, we talk about prayer. Prayer is a big one, and that's something you can do without giving a monetary contribution. However, if you feel you can give any amount, it’s the beginning of changing people's lives. It’s not about how much you give, it's about caring for others and what's inside your heart. Any amount donated helps to change this community.
Dr. Cid Pinedo: At Children’s fund, we thank God for the Ramos family because they chose to make a difference and to have an impact in our community. They are providing a bright future for every child.