Two sisters from the Philippines were the first recipients of the Family Scholarship Pilot Program for migrant workers granted by the Western Union Foundation (WUF) Jan. 26.
Carla Mae and Carmela Mae Ubalde are CSUN students who’re splitting a $5,000 scholarship to aid them in continuing their college education. Carla is a junior studying nursing, while Carmela is a sophomore majoring in information systems.’
‘It will really make a difference. When we first found out, we couldn’t believe it,’ said Carmela. ‘I mean, you never think you’re going to win something. And then, to be the first to receive this kind of scholarship, to help families who have more than one kid in college, is kind of cool.’
Most scholarships only benefit the recipient, but Western Union is making other programs that’ll benefit their family.’
Their family is eligible for an English Spanish Language (ESL) training program’mdash;a component many scholarships lack, according to Judy Cara spokeswoman for WUF.’
‘I’m not aware of any other scholarship programs that benefit not only the recipient but their family as well,’ Cara said. ‘We included ESL training to be a strong component of the scholarship because of the fact that one of the toughest barriers for migrant families is to overcome English skill barriers in order to find work.’
The Family Scholarship Program is part of Western Union’s Our World, Our Family signature program, a five-year, $50 million commitment designed to provide communities with the skills, knowledge and resources essential to breaking the poverty cycle.
The Ubalde sisters were born in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States in the early at different times at the beginning of the new millennium to join their parents, who like most immigrant families, came to make a better life for themselves.
Carmela was 12 years old when she came to San Fernando Valley and Carla, was 21.
Applicants for the scholarship had to meet a certain criteria for consideration. Requirements include the applicant’s family to being from Guatemala or the Philippines.
They must also have community involvement in Los Angeles and plans for unitizing the scholarship.’
The Institute of International Education (IIE), an international non-profit educational exchange organization, independently runs the scholarship program.
‘Although we don’t accept outside financial contributions, we do appreciate people spreading the word of our cause,’ said Karen de Bartolome, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Regional Center of the IIE in Denver, Colo.
IIE is an organization that is in partnership with the WUF.
IIE is an independent nonprofit organization is among the world’s largest and most experienced international education and training organizations, de Bartolome. IIE has offices in 13 international locations that assist the Educational Testing Service in offering Test of English as a Foreign Language and other U.S. college admissions tests.
Some offices are U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs-supported Educational Advising Centers. They plan to expand their efforts to include the Mexican immigrants as well, said de Bartolome.
‘We knew (CSUN) had good programs and that we could learn a lot here,’ Carmela said. ‘The scholarship from Western Union just makes getting our education a whole lot easier.’
Transfer students who meet the criteria to apply for Western Union’s scholarship must turn in their submission by Feb. 15.’
Scholarship applicants can determine eligibility and initiate an online application through the Western Union Foundation Web site at foundation.westernunion.com.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘