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Teen with Medical School Dreams Asks for a Helping Hand

The son of strawberry field workers is asking the community for help attending the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine.

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 baezkevin21@yahoo.com. He's working to arrange a way for people to make donations directly to the program in his name.

Mitt October 26, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Could have held a summer job in place of begging.
Daddy Yankee October 26, 2012 at 10:25 PM
Too bad you'd have better luck selling yourself on the corner than getting a job around here at 16. let him ask for a handout, people do this all the time with stupid cardboard signs to support their vices. At least he's asking for a hand out for something worthwhile.
Mitt October 26, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Ya, he wants to play doctor
Tony Garcia October 27, 2012 at 12:22 AM
@Stepht B.A summer job in Watsonville? The do exist for those who wish to hustle. My daughter had two this year and her friends were employed over the summer as well. Perhaps not the highest paying jobs but a good start for teenagers. People keep saying that there are no jobs in town all the while I had two openings in my shop that took me months to fill. Just entry level to start but it's a good way to get into a field. I think that anyone that really wants a job can find or make one for them self.
Lucas October 27, 2012 at 02:02 AM
His Mexican (illegal?) immigrant parents have a family of 6. This one was malnourished at 2 and almost drowned at 4 because his parents had too many kids to take care of them properly. Now he wants $2,700 more on top of the free education and medical bills we've already paid for. I wonder how much the rest of his family has cost us so far. Enough is enough, we can't afford these entitlements anymore.
Xitlali October 27, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Mitt and Lucas, you two are some of the biggest pr*cks I have heard from on this generally very white website. Here is a boy who is doing good for himself on his own merits and all you can do is point to the bad. Summer jobs are great, but who is to say that he wasn't working this summer or doing something else productive. Instead you make it into an illegal thing... I'm not racist I swear... I like getting my fruits and vegetables that fall from the sky and not from people who are forced off their homelands because of neoliberal nafta policies from guys named Mitt. I for one hope this kid becomes a doctors and I hope that Mitt and Lucas sit on tacks
Franco October 27, 2012 at 02:50 AM
People just hate to see beggars with their hands out. Enough entitlements!
David Gomez October 27, 2012 at 03:07 AM
@xitlali - ok, you seem to care about this. Why don't YOU do some fund raising for this guy? All you need is three grand in less than thirty days. Lots of car washes and bake sales I'd say.
Paul Gutierrez October 27, 2012 at 03:27 AM
Kevin will be joining Take Back Watsonville this weekend at our table at the car show at East Lake Village. All donations and shirt sales will go to Kevin and his dream. His parents are hard working people who do one hell of a job providing for their family. If we can help him get his dream then that is one less kids doing bad things and keeping hopes and dreams aliv. who knows , this kids could cure cancer one day or aids.but everyone deserves a chance.
Xitlali October 27, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Hey david gomez, Why don't you use a fascist nickname too, like Franco or Mitt? Maybe I will donate some money, maybe I won't. What's important is that I can because it's being publicized. Nobody is making you or anybody else donate, so why be so opposed. Since when do we conflate charity with entitlements? Nobody is taking you or Franco or Mitt or Ross Perot or David Duke anything. I am really happy to hear the good news from Paul Gutierrez and look forward to supporting. Maybe the rest of you can give money to Exxon or Goldman Sachs or better yet Texas gay bashers or something.
Mmmmmmm hmmmmmm October 27, 2012 at 04:56 AM
Xitillu- naw you won't give anything. You just like to complain and your cheep. All you want o do is spread your hate. Mmmmm....
Paul Gutierrez October 27, 2012 at 04:59 AM
Xitillu- thank you. please join us on sunday. you dont have to donate but come out have a good time meet kevin and his family. we will also have the family of Luis Duran (murdered here in wasonville last year. 19 years old)
Lucas October 27, 2012 at 06:52 AM
Xitlali - You are so right. Illegal immigrants and their spawn have so much to offer society. Perhaps Kevin can raise the money he wants by selling a kidney or an eye? It gives a whole new meaning to "harvest festival".
David H. Perez October 27, 2012 at 04:30 PM
@Mmmm Hmmm - You accuse Xitlali of spreading hate??? Maybe YOU should look in the mirror!
David H. Perez October 27, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Paul - I think it is terrific that TBW is helping this young man to pursue his dream. Here is a young man who has had all of the cards stacked against him who wants to do something positive for humanity. I cannot believe the cruel people on this forum who accuse Kevin of being a beggar. Medical school is usually reserved for people who have the financial privilege to afford it (and it IS expensive and more than can be afforded by just working a summer job). We as a community should feel glad that Kevin aspires to be a doctor rather than a gangster, and I hope he finds the support he needs. See you at the car show.
Cathy P. October 28, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I'm donating 6 dozen homemade cupcakes to help Kevin acheive his dream. Come out and buy a Red Velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting, a double chocolate cupcake, or a vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting, some with a Halloween theme. ALL proceeds will go towards helping Kevin attend the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine. 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.
Cathy P. October 28, 2012 at 04:49 PM
@Lucas, come out and buy a homemade cupcake, I guarantee it'll sweeten up your outlook on life a little bit.
HizDesign October 29, 2012 at 12:33 AM
How do you know he didn't?
Paul Gutierrez October 29, 2012 at 01:07 AM
id like to thank everyone who came out today in support of Kevin. We have kept his dream alive and we will give a further update tomorrow with all our exciting news for Kevin
HizDesign October 29, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Lucas, breathe.....:) IF that was the reason he was malnourished at 2, and IF it was some kind of neglect (BIG IF) that caused him to almost drown at 4, that's not HIS fault. He isn't asking for government help, he's actually asking for donations form us the private sector. Have you even looked at NYLF/MED's website? It might be a good idea..........er duhhhhhh
HizDesign October 29, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Franco, David Gomez, Xitiali may very well already involved in helping Kevin.
Cathy P. October 29, 2012 at 02:32 PM
@Paul: great job yesterday! It was a pleasure to meet Kevin and hear that he will be able to attend the Leadership Forum. Please let us know if there's anything else we can do.
Jennifer Squires October 29, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Heard that Kevin got enough support to pay for his summer program. Great news, and great community support. Good job.
Jennifer Squires October 30, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Update! Good job, Watsonville. http://watsonville.patch.com/articles/teen-and-aspiring-doctor-meets-fundraising-goal
Sap Spotter December 10, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Wow, what are you smoke'n?
Sap Spotter December 10, 2012 at 02:55 AM
You never did give a cent. Did you spend all your cash on grass?

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