Our Collective Sight
We intend to create solutions together by providing holistic support services that uplift our collective knowledge and manifest the healing and thriving of our communities.
We envision creating new systems to serve the needs and dreams of all the marginalized youth to build and nurture liberated communities across North Carolina.
Our Values: How We Will Bring Love annd Power Into Existence
The following is how we will support, love, empower, hold, and nurture our communities. We will breathe love and power into our communities through the new systems P4E will create and sustain for them to thrive.
Collaboration and Unity
Power and Rights
We are able to offer more extensive initiatives thanks to grants, additional funding, and your support
Scholarships for Higher Education
Providing more undocumented students with scholarships to supplement their first year of higher education, and ultimately, remaining years until graduation.
Educational Enrichment Opportunities
Engaging our scholars with individualized advancement opportunities to support and grow their passions both inside and outside the classroom.
(New!) Youth Mental Health Retreat Series
Thanks to the support of the Durham Public Schools Foundation
And in partnership with local community organizers and adult allies we will be hosting Youth Mental Health Retreats for students in Durham Public Schools. Please reach out if you are interested in more information or in supporting the retreats!
(New!) Aduly Ally and Educator Youth Mental Health Retreat Series
Collaboration with the Durham Public Schools Foundation
An emerging series in collaboration with the DPSF where we will be hosting Adult Ally and Educator Mental Health Retreats for adult allies, parents, DPS educators in Durham. Please reach out if you are interested in more information or in supporting the retreats!
Spring 2016 marked the launch of our scholarship application and our inaugural class of scholars. Each year, we work with two new Pupusa scholars to provide scholarships, nurture their passions, and empower them through graduation.
Senior at Delaware State University in Dover, DE
2019 Scholar Nayeli will become a part of the class of 2023 at Delaware State University. She will be majoring in Forensic Biology with the goal of one day working as a crime laboratory analyst. Nayeli was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico and raised in North Carolina since she was six. She is proud of her background and deeply thankful for organizations like Pupusas For Education that allow her to pursue an education. She expresses her sincerest gratitude, “It would not have been possible without the contribution and support of this generous organization. Thank you."
Junior at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC
2019 Scholar Jatzyri is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she hopes to major in Neuroscience. Born in Mexico City, Jatzyri has lived in North Carolina since she was 2 years old, and considers it her home. The college application process is an exciting time for many students all over the world. Yet for Jatzyri, it was a time filled with uncertainty and worry. Applying to colleges whilst being a first-generation high school graduate, DACAmented student, and coming from a low-income household was one of the hardest experiences that she has had to endure. However, thanks to generous donors, scholarships such as Pupusas for Education, and years of hard work, Jatyzri is now very excited to pursue her dreams and continue living as an example of Latinx excellence. Go Heels!
Junior at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC
2020 Scholar Jesus Peralta Porras immigrated to the United States back in 2003 from Puebla, Mexico. He says that even though he wasn’t born in the US he grew up here and doesn’t remember anything about Mexico. The only way he was able to connect with his family’s culture was through the traditions and customs his family shared with him such as their native language, food, and holidays. Growing up Jesus shares that his environment pushed him into hiding who he was because of a ‘Machista’ mindset. Being Mexican he says in a predominantly white school put a label on his back to his peers and teachers that said “he isn’t actually serious about school” and he says he had to work twice as hard in his higher-level classes to be seen as equal to his white counterparts. Through various nonprofit organizations such as the Minority Student Achievement Network, Students Against Violence Everywhere Jesus says he was able to hear about the issues minorities face and learned about the value of youth advocacy and activism. In the future, Jesus hopes to have received his degree in Community and Justice and work in a school system to help motivate and inspire children to be their authentic selves and fight for minorities’ rights. Most importantly he is super honored to work with an organization that serves authentic Salvadorian food with a side of JUSTICE!
Sophmore at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN
2021 schoalr Sharon G. Urrutia-Moreira was born in Escuintla, Guatemala and came to North Carolina when she was only two years old. She stated that she faces many obstacles as she grew and had trouble finding her identity due to the fact that she spoke little to no spanish. As she continued to grow, she began to learn more about her beautiful culture and began to learn to write, read and speak in spanish. Not only that, she promised her family that she would go to college and pursue the "american dream." She stated that it was diffifuclt, she went through many sleepless nights and even had more thoughts on giving up but she continued to fight through it and hopes others will do the same no matter how hard it gets. She will be majoring in nursing to become a pediatric nurse. Sharon hopes one day she will open her own organization later on in life to help students like herself bloom and pursue their dream of going into a higher education after high school. She believes that it wasn't the proper documentation or "papers" that defined her worth. It is her determination and eagerness to make something of herself, combined with the acceptance of her identity that giver her values. She hopes to set forth the pieces necessary for like minded invdividuals to come along and contribute to that puzzle until our society decides that there is no longer a need for its fulfillment.
Sophmore at Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, NC
2021 scholar Cesar Torres Rodriguez plans on attending Guilford Technical Community College to major in construction management. Born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, he later arrived in North Carolina at the age of 3. Raised by a single mother, he realized at a young age the huge sacrifice his mother made for him to have a better future in the United States. Cesar says, “I am very honored to be chosen by Pupusas for Education because this is an opportunity that allows me to pursue a higher education and use it to help others in my community.”
Guillermo Ernesto Escobar Menjivar
Freshman at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, NC
2022 Scholar Guilermo immigrated to the United States with his mother and little sister at the age of 15 in 2018 from El Salvador. Moving to this country and leaving his father behind in El Salvador was one of the hardest and most traumatizing things that he had to do in his life. In his first year in high school, he challenged and pushed himself to learn English as fast as he could, shortly after he started to take college classes from Wake Tech. It was hard in high school for him because of having to adapt to a whole new language and coming across people who said to him that he was never going to college because he wasn’t a resident. After high school Guilermo was able to attend his first year at Wake Technical Community College. He’s working full time in a restaurant making sushi and Asian food. Guilermo looks after his little sister while also helping her with school. After Wake Tech Guilermo is planning to go to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study biomedical engineering and plans to further his education in medical school. In the future, Guilermo wants a job where he can help people. He feels like after what he’s lived through, he wants to dedicate his whole life to helping people that need help.
Freshman at Durham Technical Community College in Raleigh, NC
Jhoselyn Vasquez is a Freshman at Durham Technical Community College. Jhoselyn was born in Corinto Morzan, El Salvador. She arrived in Florida when she was 8 years old. When Jhoselyn came she didn’t know any English. Her 2nd grade teacher had a goal that by the end of the year she would understand and speak the language and she achieved that goal. At the start of 8th grade she moved to North Carolina it was the 1st time of a significant change took place in her life. It was challenging for her she was having difficulties in school. High school came along and she was thinking about giving up and just not going anymore since she is undocumented and she thought that she would never reach her goal of becoming a teacher. Jhoselyn started to give up but her family and teachers started to work with her. Her 9th-grade P.E. Coach and resource officers were always motivating her to keep going. She started to work hard to graduate and be able to attend college. Jhoselyn stated that “ thanks to Pupusas for Education, now I’m able to attend college even tho I’m undocumented. Everything is possible if you have the mind to it and the right people around you.”
Jeymi Dubon Reyes (She/Ella)
Director of Youth Impact and Success
Jeymi Dubon Reyes was born in Honduras and immigrated to the United States at the age of 3. She dreamed of wanting to become so many things when she arrived and her heart always seemed to pull back to doing work with youth. Jeymi is very passionate about working alongside youth by uplifting youth leadership, mental health, and lived experiences.
Cecilia Polanco (she/they/ella/ellx)
Director Of Community Growth and Outreach
Cecilia S. Polanco is a local Durham community organizer and proud graduate of Durham Public Schools who believes #TheRevolutionWillBeWellFed. She is a daughter of the Salvadoran diaspora and indigenous peoples of El Salvador, a long time Durham resident, and local small business owner of So Good Pupusas social justice food truck, and founder of Pupusas for Education non profit community organization. She works in the fields of mental health advocacy, food and environmental justice, economic community development, youth development and organizing, and more just philanthropic and nonprofit systems. She values racial equity and anti-racism, intersectionality, the path from DEI to liberatory systems, building bridges of solidarity, freedom dreaming around decolonized strategies and systems, radical joy and celebration, and a visionary for a healing path forward together. As a facilitator she believes in co-creating brave spaces to grapple with both having experiences and being agents of harm, channeling our inner child in our work, and slowing down to prioritize connection, relationship, and heart centered work.
Rubi Herrera Franco (She/Her)
Director Of Organizational Growth and Strategy
Rubi Herrera Franco was born in Tamaulipas, Mexico. Rubi grew up undocumented and became an activist and community organizer as a Sophomore in high school. Rubi holds a Master of Social Work degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. She is passionate about building a national network centered around upholding human dignity. Her work at the Student Success Agency focuses on supporting youth in their search to find their identity and in the pursuit of their dreams. Rubi is deeply interested in coaching youth in mindful self-compassion, self-resilience and empowerment. She is interested in contributing to educational, opportunity and health equity by providing youth with vital support services from the beginning of their adolescent life.
Valeria Sosa Garnica
Strategic Financial Advisor
Valeria Sosa Garnica is a fundraiser, writer, and lover of crafting. As a fundraising consultant, she has worked with a number of nonprofits focused on grassroots organizing, community development, and reflective democracy. Prior to working in development and fundraising, Valeria served as the inaugural Emerging Leaders Fellow at Self-Help Credit Union. There, she worked on several projects: community engagement, credit union operations, strategic planning, and SBA loans during the COVID-19 crisis. A proud Oaxaqueña born and raised in Greensboro, she is excited to work with P4E to support Latinx youth. She is passionate about building strong relationships within the community and decolonizing philanthropic resourcing. She currently resides in Washington, D.C., but can often be found enjoying Mexican delicacies in her mother's kitchen.
Antonio Alanis is an artist and grant-writing professional dedicated to using his art and writing to address important social issues. Born in Mexico and raised in Durham, North Carolina, Antonio is deeply connected to his community. He is driven by a desire to create a more equitable and inclusive society through his work. His background as an immigrant has influenced his perspective and has inspired him to explore themes of social justice, identity, and immigration. In addition to being an artist, Antonio uses his grant writing experience to support nonprofits and partners’ efforts to promote social justice and advocate for historically-excluded communities.
Our Board Members
Meet our amazing board members!
Laura Duran Velazquez
Laura Duran Velazquez is a recent graduate from Meredith College with a Bachelor in Mathematics. She is a Golden Door Scholarship recipient. Through her educational journey, she was connected to a love for teaching and guiding BIPOC middle and high school students on their own educational pathways. Doing so has allowed her to begin fulfilling her desire to fight for higher education and the general betterment of the Latinx community. "I believe that we can be the spark to help others become the best version of themselves, which will create unmeasurable success for each individual and our community as a whole. Also, my favorite pupusa is Chicharron con queso!" - Laura D.V.
Emily Polanco-Barahona (she/her/hers) is a credit union aficionado and a firm believer in the "people helping people" philosophy. She has dedicated the last decade of her professional career to the credit union movement working in various roles in the industry ranging from Marketing/Communications, Internal Audit, Compliance, Estates/Trust, and Legal. Most recently, she is enjoying her tenure as Vendor Manager at Coastal Federal Credit Union. Ms. Polanco-Barahona is licensed to practice law in the State of North Carolina and obtained her J.D. from North Carolina Central University. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Italian Language and Literature from Yale University.
Glenda Polanco, MBA
Glenda Polanco is originally from El Salvador. She is a first generation graduate with a MBA. She is passionate about assisting the Latino community, especially Latinx youth to achieve their dreams of pursuing a higher education. She is a huge advocate of mental health and healing generational trauma to holistically explore the potential within each of us and achieve happiness. Currently, she works as a Project Coordinator at a logistics and supply chain pharmaceutical company in the cell and gene department. "Being a TPS holder, I know how hard pursuing a higher education can be. I am here to serve as motivation and a resource for students wanting to advance their education."- Glenda P.
Marco Antonio Cervantes Garcia
Marco is a poet, community organizer, activist, and passionate artist. He is a student at NC A&T pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering. Marco is unafraid and unapologetically undocumented. He is eager to see good health in everyone. He wants to contribute to the creation of a reality where there is paramount education for bright futures, joyful spirits for communion, and selfless work for growth.
Rachel immigrated from South Korea to the U.S. as a child and grew up in Greensboro, NC. She attended UNC-Chapel Hill for undergrad, where she advocated for undocumented students through the One State One Rate campaign and UndocuCarolina. After graduating in 2018, Rachel worked as a paralegal at an immigration law office for three years before starting law school at George Mason Law. She is currently in her second year at law school. Throughout law school, she helped revive the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association, serving as the Vice President of Events and Outreach. This past fall, she interned on Capitol Hill at the House Judiciary Committee and the Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet. After law school, Rachel is interested in intellectual property law, and she hopes to practice immigration law pro bono.
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