Inspiring Stories of College Success
The Jose Vallejo Story: Cultivating Dreams
Jose was in the first BLCI cohort in 1996 as a 3rd grader. Nobody in his family had gone to college and he was surrounded by competing negative influences in his community. Although Barrio Logan is rich with history, art and culture, it is also known for gang violence, poverty, and the low educational attainment of its residents.
BLCI looked out for Jose’s best interest by ensuring he received a quality education at a local elementary school resulting in his admission to the Bishop’s School in La Jolla. Jose worked hard during the day at one of the most rigorous schools in the county and came to BLCI in the evening after traveling several hours on a bus to receive the tutoring, guidance and support he needed to succeed at Bishops.
After much hard work and late nights at BLCI, Jose became our first high school graduate in 2004. Through BLCI’s help, Jose applied and was accepted to Yale University where he was admitted with a full ride scholarship. Julio Galindo, BLCI’s past Executive Director, personally drove Jose from San Diego to New Haven, Connecticut and dropped him off at the gate of Yale University.
Three and a half years later, Jose graduated with a B.S. in Economics and came back to San Diego to work for City Link Investment Corporation as a Junior Analyst. Today, at age 24, Jose is the youngest member on the BLCI board of directors. He is a great role model to all BLCI students and the community as a whole.
We are very proud of Jose’s accomplishments!
Dulce was elected as the first female Student Body President in the history of California State University Channel Islands. Dulce is a political science major and will pursue a graduate degree in international policy. She is interested in social justice issues involving the poor and women’s rights. Dulce has two younger sisters in the program and her mother, Lucila Hernandez, serves on our board of directors.
Brian is a student at CSU Monterrey Bay studying Japanese. He graduated from The Preuss School UCSD and BLCI in 2008. Brian is a hard working young man who values his family and community.
Neither of Brian’s parents made it past elementary school, but they have done everything possible to make sure their kids achieve their dreams. Brian’s younger brother, Ivan Gonzalez, is legally blind and is a high school senior at BLCI.
Brian is taking advanced Japanese, Mandarin and Korean classes in Tokyo, Japan this year. He has one more year to go as an undergraduate. Brian would like to attend The Monterrey Institute of International Studies to study international business.
The international community will benefit greatly one day from Brian’s hard work and dedication!
Bernice graduated from BLCI and The Preuss School UCSD in 2005. She is a driven and determined individual with a passion for social justice. She graduated from The University of Virginia in 2009 with a degree in Social and Political Thought and is currently a graduate student in the Public Policy and Management Master’s Program at Carnegie Mellon University.
Bernice grew up in a single parent home with one other sister in Barrio Logan. Although she had a difficult adolescence, her college experience opened her eyes to the possibility of changing her surroundings and creating opportunities.
Bernice is not done dreaming. She hopes to make an impact on society on a large scale through public policy. She is currently a public policy research intern at the Stanton Farm Foundation. We might be calling her President Ramirez one day…
Nancy started at BLCI in middle school and now, after graduating from UCSD with a degree in International Studies in 2010, works for Mayor Jerry Sanders’ office representing four districts, one of which includes Barrio Logan.
Francisco “Panchito” Martinez grew up in Barrio Logan, a small neighborhood south of downtown, where he has been a student at BLCI since the fourth grade. Panchito is now attending San Diego State University as a part of the Weber Honors College, with a major in philosophy and a minor in leadership studies with the help of the Vice President of Student Affairs Leadership Scholarship. As a Peer Leadership Consultant at SDSU, Panchito presents workshops on time management, conflict resolution, and leadership values to the 300 plus organizations on campus. Panchito is also working at BLCI as the Leadership Program Specialists where he assists the Executive Director in developing leadership programs for the students of BLCI. In 2015, the San Diego Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals chose Panchito as the Outstanding Youth/Student Volunteer as part of National Philanthropy Day.