Together we make a profound difference

Defining Herself

When Investment in Success called Cristal Mota’s name at her school assembly, she froze in her chair.

“I sat there for what felt like five minutes,” she says. “I could’ve sworn it was a dream.”

Just a few years earlier, she’d been struggling. She hadn’t taken high school seriously during her freshman and sophomore years. At age 15, she became pregnant. There was a haze of social workers and doctors; then, she lost the child. On top of the loss, she worried that she could never make up the ground she’d lost academically. She found herself at a crossroads.

“Coming from a Hispanic background, you tend to hear that you’ll get pregnant at 15 or 16,” Cristal says. “It hit me: I was living the life others expected me to live. I wanted to prove them wrong.”

She brought a renewed resolve to her schoolwork. She started applying to scholarships, and to colleges. Although it would be a huge financial challenge, “I was like, money or no money I’m going to school,” says Cristal. “I want to do something with myself.”

Her teachers, and then the Masons of California, took notice. And so at the school assembly last spring, she was announced as an Investment in Success scholar.

“For the Masons to look away from my past and say ‘I want to see her reach her goals,’ that was pretty cool,” she says. “It was overwhelming to know that they actually believed in me and actually wanted to invest in me.”

Today, Cristal is a freshman at Cal State. She intends to pursue a double major, something that will set her up to do social work as well as perform ultrasounds. She wants to open up a nonprofit to serve uninsured pregnant women. She hopes to empower them to find their own path to success.

“If I could tell them anything, it’s that what other people say doesn’t define you,” she says. “What you do defines you.”

Make a gift to the Annual Fund today. Through it, remarkable young people like Cristal, will have a chance to reach their potential and make the world a better place.

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