LAS VEGAS — After seeing her older siblings not go to college because of financial struggles, Miriam Gomez was not sure if college was a feasible plan.
“I felt very alone in that part of my life. I didn’t know what to do. It was all very new to me. I didn’t know how to ask questions to people, and I was very prideful, so I just wanted to figure it out myself," Gomez said.
But Miriam was determined to go to college, and it wasn't until a friend told her about Leaders in training that she would get the support she needed.
“And she was like, hey I know you want to go to college, you should come with me to this program after school, it’s only once a week, and you could get a feel of what you have to do," Gomez said.
Erica Mosca started Leaders in Training back in 2012, after being a first-generation college student herself, knowing the challenges first-generation students face, and wanting to do something to help.
“My parents loved me and supported me, but they didn’t know how to help with things like a FASFA or even going on college visits. It’s very intimidating if that wasn’t your experience," Mosca said.
Apart from the lack of knowledge on resources, another challenge first-generation students face is financial obstacles.
“I always say what's unique about my experience is I could definitely compete academically, but I also had to work two jobs, so at night, I would be serving food in the dining hall to those I was going to then compete against on a test the next day," Mosca said.
Which was the reality for Miriam and her siblings as well. Miriam's sister was accepted into The University of Nevada, Reno but turned it down because of financial struggles.
Miriam says if it wasn't for Leaders in Training providing her with the financial resources she needs, she wouldn't have made it past her first semester of college. But now Miriam is the first to attend college in her family and hopes to inspire her younger siblings.
“It was kind of a relief, to be honest when I was the first one. I didn’t really take pride in being the first one, but I took pride in knowing ok one of us got through to it," Gomez said.
The organization has helped more than 100 students get to college since they first started in 2012. They are currently enrolling more students in their program.
For more information, you can visit their website.