Kevin Baez, 16, wants to save lives.
Next summer, he has the opportunity to take a big first step on the path toward becoming a doctor.
While his peers may work summer jobs or travel with family, the Watsonville High junior has the chance to shadow a doctor for two weeks through the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine, “which is kind of a unique experience … being at my age," Kevin said.
The catch? He has until the first week of December to pay the $2,695 tution, which includes room and board.
Kevin comes from a family of six. He's the son of Mexican immigrants who work in Pajaro Valley's strawberry fields for just over minimum wage. When he graduates from high school in 2014, he hopes to attend a UC school, then medical school.
"My dream is to be the first in my whole family to make it somewhere in their life's higher than picking strawberries," Kevin wrote in a letter seeking sponsorships from Watsonville businesses.
Kevin's drive to become a doctor is rooted in childhood experiences. Doctors saved his life when he was a malnourished 2-year-old, then medics revived him when he nearly drowned at age 4.
“It’s scary but it’s what inspired me to want to become a doctor,” Kevin said “They saved my life... Can I do the same for others?”
The NYLF/MED introduces outstanding high school students to the world of medicine and to the various careers available in the medical field. There are programs in 13 cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In his fundraising letter, Kevin is honest and humble about his need.
"I am reaching out for help because I want to make a change in this world," he wrote. "I can't accomplish this goal by my self. I am in need of help."
To help Kevin, contact him at email@example.com. He's working to arrange a way for people to make donations directly to the program in his name.