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In honoring Lucas Alvarez through his foundation, we are honored to acknowledge our first recipient for a scholarship to the Automotive Technician Training Program at Universal Technical Institute in Orlando. Jayson is a wonderful young man that our family has been blessed to get to know and spend time with.
Through the Arteaga family who honor their son and brother daily through the Ari Arteaga Be the Light Foundation, we met Jayson. Their tragedy and ours brought us together. Ysha Arteaga, Ari’s mother, met Jayson, a homeless, 19 year old young man, who expressed his desire to attend a mechanic school. She reached out to me to get information regarding the Universal Technical Institute.
At the end of February 2020, UTI sent Frank Torres to meet with Jayson and Ysha. Ysha reached out to me to sit in and mentor Jayson through the process, since I was familiar with the program. From that moment forward, I had the privilege to be part of this process and the honor of getting to know Jayson and his story. Throughout the interview and presentation, I watched a young man light up as he was shown video of the school’s facilities and programs. Our son, Lucas, had the privilege of visiting these facilities in Orlando, and Lucas had lit up the same way when he got to see the Ford, Nissan and BMW departments. We kept telling people Lucas looked like a little kid in a candy store.
Jayson’s story is one like way too many young kids living and surviving on our streets. When I met Jayson in February, my husband and I picked him up in the area of the Redlands in Homestead, Florida where Jayson was living out of an abandoned car. Jayson had been living on the streets, “couch surfing” and sleeping in cars for about a year and half. This was an unacceptable situation and with the help of Ysha, our family, friends and donations from many who offered to help, the Lucas Alvarez LA6 Foundation was formed in honor of Lucas and his dreams.
Not every story will be like Jayson’s, but we hope to facilitate opening the door for other young people to have a chance for success. Education after high school looks different for everyone. A traditional college experience is not the only road to success. Our foundation’s goal is to expand that definition of success by providing academic scholarships and funding for individuals to achieve their dreams by attending vocational institutes. The goal is to provide a student the chance to grow and work hard in order to provide for themselves. To us, that is success!
Jayson has proven to us that he wants the opportunity to make his hopes and dreams come true and become an independent young man ready for the future in his career as a mechanic. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic delayed Jayson’s move up to Orlando, Florida (although he has been able to begin his studies remotely), but this gave our family the chance to get to know the young man that will be receiving this opportunity to honor Lucas. Jayson is a respectful, kind, appreciative young man and our family is here to mentor him moving forward as he begins to write a new chapter of his life. As we have told Jayson, your success is our success because it honors our son, Lucas Alvarez.
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