A Watsonville High student who appealed to the community last week for assistance in attending a summer medical program got the support he needed.
Kevin Baez, 16, reported that he met his fundraising goal and will be able to attend the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine, a prestigious program that introduces outstanding high school students to the world of medicine and to the various careers available in the medical field.
"I reached my goal by working along side with Paul by fundraising and accepting donations of the public," Kevin reported in an email to Patch on Tuesday.
Take Back Watsonville founder Paul Gutierrez helped Kevin organize a fundraising effort at a car show Saturday in Watsonville. Others came out of the woodwork to help or make a donation. For example, Patch blogger Cathy P. offered a gift of six dozen homemade cupcakes for Kevin to sell at the event.
"If 'It takes a Village to raise a child,' then surely this community can step up and help this bright young man and put their money where their mouths are," she posted on Patch.
Tuition for the two-week summer program is $2,695, which Kevin honestly said was too much for his family to afford. Both of his parents work in the strawberry fields.
"If we can help him get his dream then that is one less kids doing bad things and keeping hopes and dreams alive," Gutierrez said.
Kevin's story also was a good reminder for students whose families work in the strawberry industry. They are eligible for the Strawberry Scholarship Program as high school seniors and beyond.