Group 2 5 min Read

When I Grow Up…

What did you want to be when you grew up?

A firefighter, a teacher, an astronaut, a novelist?

One of the most inspiring parts of being a student is envisioning any future you want, knowing you can follow your dreams to achieve a multitude of possible careers. However, for 18% of Bellevue students living in poverty, these dreams are often limited by financial barriers that can prevent them from being realized.

This fall, your support is allowing five freshman students to follow their passions and achieve their dreams with college scholarships from Bellevue LifeSpring. With the strength of their community, the futures they’ve imagined are finally within reach.


Dream Career: Surgeon

Andy’s desire to help others was first inspired by a school community service project. “People were very thankful and it felt nice to help improve those people’s lives. That experience stuck with me.

“I have always found the human body as well as practicing surgery fascinating,” Andy told us. “Becoming a surgeon would allow me to help the people in need. I could be possibly saving someone’s life.”

Andy credits his family with his passion for learning and aspirations for higher education. “Learning where you come from can have a big impact on who you are and who you choose to be. Both of my parents finished high school at the top of their class. However, neither of them could afford to go to college. They moved to America when they met because they wanted more than what they had at home. They did not want what their brothers and sisters had. They wanted a better life.”


Dream C
areer: Social Worker

Yana grew up in a family supported by a single income. “My mother worked full-time to support my siblings and me,” she shared. In high school, her mother 

became ill and Yana’s stressful home life began to affect her academics. When she failed one of her classes, she wasn’t sure how she would be able to get back on track.

In her senior year, Yana was received a Grads-On-Track scholarship to attend summer school from Bellevue LifeSpring. Thanks to your support, she passed her course and was able to graduate on time with her peers.

“Through these difficult times in my life, what helped me stay positive and helped me view myself with a better outlook has been counselors who I had met with,” Yana says. “These counselors have helped me become a mentally healthier person. This is the positive change I would like to create for youth in the future.”


Dream Career: Pediatrician

As a child, Sophia recalls watching closely as her pediatrician gave her a vaccination. “Instead of looking away, I gawked openly at the vaccination while pelting 

questions at Dr. Flower, with inquiries such as ‘What’s in the tube?’ and ‘Will I be able to do my homework after this?’ Disappointingly, she answered

 with a prompt ‘Yes’ to the latter question, but helpfully explained the properties of the vaccine to my eight-year-old self. This was only the beginning of my fascination with all things sharp and pokey at the doctor’s office.

“Considering my love for working with children and my continuous wonder surrounding medicine, the decision to pursue pediatrics as a career path comes naturally,” Sofia commented. “One day, I hope to become a Dr. Flower for a curious little explorer like myself.”


Dream Career: Aeronautical Engineer

When she was 15, Gurleen’s family moved to Bellevue. “In the beginning of the 10th grade, my first year of school in the United States, it was hard for me,” Gurleen recalls. She was proud of the 3.7 GPA she had achieved at her school in India, but found it hard to keep up with a new language, a new school and a new country. Gurleen didn’t let those challenges hold her back. “I started helping myself by using the Internet to understand more and doing extra homework related to my classes. My grades started to improve in the second semester.”

Even as a child, Gurleen was smart and curious. She always wanted to know more: “When I was two I wondered how planes and rockets flew,” she remembers. “When I was five, I saw an airplane for the first time. My uncle worked for an Indian airline. We drove to visit him. It was a huge airplane. I wondered how something so big could fly. Did its wings flap like a bird?”

As she grew older, Gurleen went in pursuit of answers to her many questions. “I started reading books about space and aircrafts. My elder cousin started studying aeronautical science in India. This was a fairly new major where I lived. I would go to him and ask if I could read his books. I tried solving the equations but I didn’t know enough. It was my dream to know. To know how planes and rockets work. To know the different parts they had. To know how they flew so high. Since way back then, I wanted to study aeronautical engineering, to build rockets which would help us explore space.”


Dream Career: Neurosurgeon

“I was raised in a middle-class family and had loving parents,” Ryan shared. “In the summer of 2012, my dad passed away. This greatly changed my family dynamic as my mom now had to raise four children on her own.”

Despite these setbacks, Ryan has big plans for his future. “I would like to work in the medical field, specifically as a neurosurgeon. I have always wanted to be a doctor, and neurosurgery is the most interesting medical field to me. A family friend who is also the pastor of the church I attend is a practicing neurosurgeon and the field of work interests me greatly.”

The oldest of four kids, Ryan is also setting an example and paving the way for his siblings to achieve a brighter future.


Confidence in their Potential

All five of these first-year students are carving a pathway out of poverty for themselves and their families. Thanks to you, “When I grow up…” is not just a wistful sentiment; it becomes a statement of potential to be realized. Your support is creating the next generation of surgeons, engineers and social workers. Thank you for your confidence in their future.

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