Author: Penny Liu
Editor: Natasha Palance
Photos by: Jong Wu
On June 15, 2019, Tzu Chi Southern Region hosted a scholarship award ceremony for scholarship recipient winners and their families. Over 30 applicants from all over the country ranging from Florida and Georgia all the way to Texas applied for the 2019 award. In the end, the top 19 students who demonstrated the Tzu Chi spirit and educational excellence were chosen to receive this years scholarship award.
Nataly, one of the 19 award recipients, is a high school student from Houston, Texas whose parents are refugees from El Salvador. Nataly’s parents have worked diligently over the years to make a living for their family in Houston despite their background full of hardships. Nataly’s mother works the night shift at a local airport, while her father owns a small refurbishing business.
When Hurricane Harvey hit, the family suffered tremendously both emotionally and financially. Nataly’s father’s business was destroyed during the flood, forcing the company to relocate. The business relocation resulted in the cancellation of a promising contract with a large company. The family was left with a significant amount of debt, relying on only one income to support the household. Even though her father’s job is not full-time, the family has worked hard with much love and dedication to stay strong and support one another during this difficult time.
Despite their difficult circumstances, the family opened their home and hearts with great joy, optimism and hospitality when Tzu Chi volunteers made a home visit. Nataly’s mother shared her perspective on the positive that can be found in this devastating situation. She sees how the disaster has helped to unify communities of mixed cultures and backgrounds, how it has inspired compassion in others, and how families have been strengthened in the pursuit of recovery.
Nataly similarly expressed her appreciation of Tzu Chi’s compassion.
Nataly aspires to become a doctor in the future, and is very enthusiastic about joining the TCCA to help volunteer in college. It is with great gratitude and joy that Tzu Chi awarded Nataly and 18 other outstanding students like her with the scholarship this year.
Catch highlights from the award ceremony as we celebrate the 19 winners of the 2019 Tzu Chi Southern Region Scholarship!