East Valley youth, who was a Mecca Club Member of Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley is headed to Stanford

Once in a blue moon, there comes along a student with the IT factor.  A student, who, against all odds, despite their economic background, shines with optimism and determination. A student who is smart, talented, and ambitious; but most of all, who is compassionate.  Adriana Torres, who is such a student, grew up underprivileged, and now, at 18-years-old, is headed to Stanford University in the fall.

This is her story.

Adriana’s parents were born in the rural mountains in Jaripo, Michoacan, Mexico.   They immigrated to the United States as children.  At tender ages, Adriana’s mother went to work in a clothing factory and her father labored in fields.  It was a hard life for kids.

“Now my parents are both farmworkers and we live in North Shore,” said Adriana.  They, along with my older siblings, used to live in St. Anthony Trailer Park, but were able to save up and buy a house about 16-years later when I was born.”

Adriana said her parents were always her greatest inspiration.  She observed over the years how much they sacrificed in hopes of providing a better future for their children.

“All they have ever wanted in life is for their children to reach higher education.  It was a privilege they never had the resources to complete.  Even though my parents are extremely hard-working and resourceful individuals – external factors have always limited their potential.  They inspired me to take advantage of all the amazing opportunities that their sacrifices have blessed me with no matter what the obstacles in hopes of providing an even better future for my children and the world.”

Adriana – Desert Mirage High School’s Class of 2021 valedictorian and a dual high school senior and a second-year student at College of the Desert with a 4.0+ GPA – also gained leadership inspirations by her years of involvement with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley (BGCCV) Mecca Club where she excelled in many of their afterschool programs.

“Adriana has chalked up an impressive resume of community work,” said BGCCV President and CEO Quinton Egson.   “She has been a member in our Mecca Club’s leadership Keystone Program; Founder and President of Estudiantes Adelante (Students Moving Forward).  At BGCCV we strive to do our part in helping kids learn how to help themselves.  The goal is to give them a hand up opposed to conditioning them to expect handouts.  The Club environment, which is designed to help kids reach their full potential, only works when those involved take full advantage of our services.  Adriana, our Youth of the Year, has taken advantage of all the Club has to offer, and therefore, epitomizes what the positive BGCCV experience is all about.

Adriana was a tutor with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Desert; co-founder and vice president of her high school’s first girls wrestling team earning the Desert Valley League’s 3rd place girls wrestling 143’s spot, as well as second-year varsity wrestling letter awards. In addition, she planned a music and arts festival for her community with Youth Organizing Council; negotiated the first open-gym policy for after-school activities; used her voice to speak for others as a youth reporter with Coachella Unincorporated; represented eastern Coachella Valley on Riverside County’s Youth Advisory Council.  She has worked as a front desk receptionist/intern with Riverside County’s Mecca Family and Farmworkers Service Center as a phone banker/canvasser with Alianza. She learned to appreciate and understand her underserved community of Mecca by picking grapes one summer with Sustainable Labor Solutions.  And now, after narrowing down her college choices between Ivy League Berkeley and Stanford – Stanford won.

“The fact that so very few students get into Stanford from communities like mine,” said Adriana, who hopes to major in Political Science and Law, “seems like a problem within itself.  During my time there, I hope that I can implement mentorship programs to help more students from similar backgrounds reserve their seats in these universities.  I want to ensure that more un-resourced students can get recognized for all of their hard work.”

Adriana has lofty goals set for herself.  She wants to do what she can to help under-sourced families. She believes that all families should have the opportunity for economic prosperity.   After getting her law degree, Adriana would like to work in the immigration sector of the government and lawmaking to reconstruct old laws, that, in her opinion, continue to harm families.  She foresees laws created to support and protect families no matter their place of birth.

“Our doors open because of those who believe in our mission,” said Adriana.  “I want to save and enhance the lives of the young people of our community, especially those with economic and/or social needs.  The result is breaking the poverty cycle and producing productive contributors to society.”