"My experience with Words Alive has always been extremely positive. My love for reading has been restored since I have been involved with them and I've always found a support system within the organization." -- Lexi Martinez, Words Alive Westreich Scholar
The Words Alive Westreich Scholarship Program awards scholarships to participants in the Words Alive Adolescent Book Group to support them in their pursuit of higher education at the college or vocational level. Unlike other scholarship programs, which typically fund only tuition, books and educational supplies, each recipient is eligible to receive funds to cover the cost of rent, food, childcare, clothing, travel and other living expenses. Additionally, the program matches each recipient with a mentor. Student and mentor meet regularly throughout the school year, and the mentors provide guidance, direction, and often, a shoulder to lean on.
Let’s hear more from one of our scholars: Lexi!
Name: Zaira "Lexi" Martinez
College: San Diego State University
Degree (with area of study): Social Work
Mentor: Sarah Beauchemin
How did you first get involved with Words Alive?
I first got involved in Words Alive when I became a student at Monarch. Reading has always been an escape for me and after my family and I were left without a stable home when my mom divorced her abusive husband, Words Alive provided an escape for me. I loved all the books we read, the discussions, and finding out which book we were going to read next. Once again, books became an escape for me and I loved being a part of a community of open and like minded individuals.
How has your experience with Words Alive affected you?
Looking back and reflecting on where I am, Words Alive has positively affected my academic career in many ways. In high school there was a time where I did not see myself going to college or making improvements to my life but the volunteers always pushed me to do my best. The books we read were stories about resilience and overcoming obstacles made by others and ourselves. They were stories that were so relatable to my own life and it made gave me the strength to discover a better life for myself. I always felt like I belonged and someone knew how to empathize with what I had been through. After I received my scholarship, I was so motivated to do better because I knew someone believed in me and I did not want to disappoint. All of the workshops that we have done have taught me life skills and my meetings with my mentor are outings that I anticipate so I can tell Sarah all of my plans and exciting news that happened that month. I am so proud of the person that I have become with the help of my Words Alive family.
What have you accomplished this year that you are most proud of?
This year I have accomplished, with the help from Sarah, a more organized academic schedule which includes writing more in my planner, forming professional relationships with my professors, living a healthier lifestyle, and working on self-care. We made this plan in the beginning of the semester and I feel like a better person. I no longer stress too much from my heavy course-load because of how evenly distributed it is. I also have much more time to dedicate to myself and my family.
What is your favorite college memory so far?
My favorite college memory is transferring from San Diego City College to San Diego State University. Until a few years, higher education was not even on my radar but now I am in my dream program enjoying all the possibilities laid out in front of me and it is overwhelming in the best way. I can't even imagine where I would be had I not come to Monarch and been a part of Words Alive.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. I watched one episode of the show and I was so enthralled by it that I wanted to read the book first.
Learn more about the WAWS program here and donate today to help us keep this scholarship going!