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Student Success Stories

Diego Alvarez

September 2014


Diego Alvarez grew up in Lynwood, a predominately Hispanic community in Southern California where gang violence and high school dropouts are an all-too-common reality. Despite these odds, Diego graduated from Firebaugh High School at the top 5% of his class in June 2010 – the same year the Center for Financial Empowerment chose to award him with a $1,000 college scholarship in our newly implemented scholarship program.


In order to qualify for our scholarship Diego completed a number of financial education courses, through which he learned about using a budget, loans and credit cards and paying for college. That knowledge has since served him well, as he explained to us in a recent interview.

Darleen Martinez

October 2014



Growing up in a low-income family in Compton, California, Darleen Martinez could have felt the decks were stacked against her. But instead of becoming a victim of her circumstances, she chose to turn it into a drive to succeed. Darleen attended Firebaugh High School in Lynwood, where she excelled in Honors classes, actively served in extracurricular clubs and volunteer work, and graduated at the top of her class in 2010. The Center for Financial Empowerment was thrilled to award her with a $1,000 college scholarship that year.


While applying for our scholarship, Darleen completed some of our financial literacy courses that helped her look beyond the typical options to find additional resources for paying for college. “I think those courses led me to make better informed decisions about my college payment plan,” she told us.

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Carol Simons March 2012

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