Our Dream Achievers
Our Dream Achievers all share one thing in common – the determination to overcome poverty through education and hard work. Add our mentoring and community partnerships, and you have an equation for success. Here is a few of their stories….
Mentor Glenn Jones,
Julio Menchaca and
girlfriend Brenda Rodriguez
By the time Julio Menchaca graduated from High School in 2016, he was determined to be the first in his family to go to college. His family was never really financially stable and he just wanted to make things better for his family and for himself. Originally from Rio Grande City Texas, Julio moved to Kingsville to attend Texas A&M University-Kingsville to major in Range and Wildlife Management and minor in Plant and Soil Science. Julio states “As a teenager, I started working cattle and did a lot of hunting. I loved working with nature and that is what I took into consideration when declaring my major at TAMUK.” Julio managed to earn excellent grades despite attending school full time while working as many as two jobs. During his college years he was most proud of being accepted as an intern with the USDA’s Pathways Program for the Natural Resource Conservation Service Program.
Julio became a Dream Achiever because “a good support system like the mentors with Dream Come True Foundation could really help push me and encourage me to open new doors and give me that impactful guidance I need to reach my goal of graduating from college.” Julio’s mentors, Glenn and Johanna Jones, were right there with Julio through many of his challenges, including getting through the financial constraints working and going to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of March, 2021, Julio became employed with the USDA as a Soil Conservationist in Albany, Texas. In reflecting on his experience with Dream Come True, Julio states “I am proud to say that I am a Dream Achiever and the Dream Come True Foundation of South Texas was very impactful in my life and in my school.”
Omar Cortez grew up in the small town of Raymondville, Texas and is the youngest of five children. Growing up, Omar never gave much thought to going to college primarily because of the cost and he didn’t exactly have stellar high school grades. But two things in his life encouraged him to pursue college; the motivation from his family and teachers, and his experience with his high school Explorer program where he had a chance to learn about law enforcement. In 2017, Omar enrolled full time at Texas A&M University Kingsville while working most evenings at HEB. While Omar declared his major as Agricultural Science, he also took several criminal justice classes because of his interest in law enforcement. In the summer of 2019, Omar participated with the Texas Game Warden Law Enforcement Internship program where he was able to observe firsthand the role of Game Wardens on the job.
Omar also applied with Dream Come True Foundation in 2019. According to Omar, “Financially my work with HEB only earns me so much to provide for my living expenses not to mention my obligations to my daughter. Assistance from DCT would help me focus on completing my bachelor’s degree and the mentoring will assist me in learning life skills.”
In December 2020 Omar did indeed graduate with a Bachelors in Ag Science and had planned to apply to the Game Warden Academy. But due to COVID-19, the Academy has temporarily closed. In the meantime, Omar has found a temporary six-month position with the USDA Plant Health Inspection Service Division as a Plant Protection and Quarantine Aid. He plans to still apply to the Game Warden Academy as soon as it reopens. In Omars words, “Even though my graduation did not go as planned, I was able to have a moment of reflection on my greatest achievements and struggles. I realized how grateful I am for everything I have gone through and the people I have met. I thank the Dream Come True Foundation and my mentors for showing me so much support even when I least expected it.” Omar’s mentors will continue to stay with him until he gets into the Academy or finds regular employment in agriculture.
Mentor Glenn Jones
with Omar Cortez
Angela B., a single mother with one teenage daughter, is from Alice Texas. Angela B’s tenacity in climbing the ladder in the Texas Oil and Gas industry makes her a unique Dream Achiever in that she already had a good position in management. Unfortunately, she was a victim of a number of lay-offs which where were typical for the industry at that time. Angela B. decided it was time to make a change and find a career that was more reliable than oil and gas.
In 2017, she reenrolled at Coastal Bend College-Alice and set her sights on becoming a teacher. She also continued to work full time at a local pipeline construction company until COVID hit – and as it turned out the company was forced to close down. Angela B. continued her school work at Coastal Bend and recently transferred to Texas A&M Corpus Christi. She has decided to become an English teacher with a concentration in Writing Studies. Her mentors, Corina and Jaime Macias continue to provide her encouragement and whatever support she needs to continue her journey to become a certified teacher. According to Angela B.,“ My priorities are my daughter, my education, my family and my work. It’s taken me all these years to apply all this wisdom, I cannot afford any distractions.” This is one determined woman!