Scholar Story – Aranzazu – Graduated December 2023

Some of the most powerful examples of our impact here at Boys Hope Girls Hope in Phoenix AZ are stories from our scholars in college. They’ve not only progressed from middle school through high school, developing confidence and skills, but they’ve made their most significant transition in life – to college – navigating the joys and challenges of independence while getting a pulse on what it means to be in the real world.

Aranzazu’s story exemplifies the difference that being a BHGH scholar can make. As she nears her graduation from Yale University with a degree in environmental engineering, she shares how grateful she’s been for BHGH’s support for the entirety of her journey.

“Looking back now, I cannot speak with anything but gratitude for my experience in Boys Hope Girls Hope,” said Aranzazu. “I was a part of the program during my most formative years, and they exposed me to high academic standards and an environment to speak up, and find new passions and interests. None of the enriching experiences I had in high school would’ve been possible without BHGH – they didn’t just encourage me to participate, they also facilitated my engagement.”

One of Aranzazu’s most salient memories during her time as a scholar is of her mentor, Claudia. Claudia supported Aranzazu’s after-school activities and went the extra mile to be sure she was prepared for all that was coming her way. When Aranzazu’s first mock trial competition came around (an interest she was unaware of until BHGH!), Claudia took her shopping for a suit because Aranzazu had never had a need for one before.

“Turns out, that suit was paving the way for a lot of other events where I’d need it, including wearing it to my senior photoshoot for the Yale yearbook a few weeks ago.”

Like that suit, Aranzazu has felt the support of the BHGH community throughout the various stages in her life. Although the transition to college – across the country, away from family and friends and in an incredibly challenging program – has presented its difficulties, Aranzazu has leaned on her BHGH network during the journey.

“I never thought I’d be going to a top university with all expenses paid through financial aid, that I’d experience living in another state across the country by myself at such a young age, or that I’d be just a two-hour train ride from New York City,” said Aranzazu. “But now, I can say I am coming out of my college experience feeling more independent, strong and capable than I ever imagined.”

Finishing college and possibly pursuing a post-graduate degree – a dream that Aranzazu’s parents instilled in her from a young age – is a testament to the power of holistic support that can transform underserved children into confident, successful leaders of tomorrow. Here at Boys Hope Girls Hope, our nonprofit organization for kids gives exactly that opportunity.