Home Industry News Releases The Unexpected Role of Student & Caretaker

The Unexpected Role of Student & Caretaker

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The Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship is Raising Money for Children of Wine Industry Workers

July 18th – Atascadero, CA— When tragedy struck, Blanca Flor didn’t hesitate to step up and become the caretaker that her family was losing.

Her mother was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer when Blanca, the eldest of six children, was only 15 years old. Since they lived in Mexico and her father was working in the United States, Blanca became responsible for caring for her five younger siblings and her ailing mother. She knew that she had to put her family first, so she dropped out of school and spent her days learning to cook, tackling home duties, running errands, and caring for her family.

Blanca is one of 18 students selected to receive a Vineyard Team Juan Nevarez Memorial Scholarship this year. This program makes higher education investments in the children of California’s vineyard and winery workers. The majority of awardees are the first in their family to attend college.

The program provides these students with multi-year funding to trade, two-, or four-year schools, plus a graduation bonus. Because the goal of this scholarship is college success, a dedicated mentor works with each of these students to support them throughout their collegiate career.

Since her mother passed, Blanca continues to care for her siblings and the home all while attending school and working. Her days begin at 4:30 am to pack lunch for her father. She gets herself and her siblings fed and safely to school. At the end of the day, after making a dinner for her family, she and her brother drive to Cuesta College to take an English class to help them strengthen their speaking and writing skills.

Blanca wishes she could have been able to help her mother through her illness. The adversity she has faced has inspired her to become a cardiologist. She says, “Some may say that I have survived a tragedy, but what I have learned is that I am strong and I will keep learning and working hard to be a doctor someday.”

Today, she is determined to do what it takes to help members of her community who face similar hardships. She plans to complete her general education at Cuesta College before transferring to San Diego State University, where she visited during a field trip and fell in love with the ambiance, programs, and sense of community.

Vineyard Team kicked off 2024 scholarship fundraising with a goal to fund one four-year scholarship and a graduation bonus totaling $20,000 by July 31. At the Scholarship Awards BBQ on July 12, the community came together in a big way and knocked this goal out of the park, raising $45,500. 

Vineyard Team now aims to triple the original goal and raise $60,000 by the end of the month. Every donation from the community helps a determined student like Blanca achieve their dream of earning a higher education. 

To make a life-changing impact on a student’s future by making a gift, visit www.vineyardteam.org/scholarship

About Vineyard Team

Arising from growers’ interest to educate and guide themselves towards sustainable winegrowing practices, Vineyard Team has become an internationally recognized leader in the sustainability movement since 1994. Not only has the organization influenced sustainability initiatives within the winegrowing community, Vineyard Team programs have influenced efforts in other crops as well. Recognized by governmental, environmental, and community organizations, Vineyard Team’s sustainable winegrowing programs are always leading the way in innovation.  Visit www.VineyardTeam.org for more information.

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