Matador Youth Scholarship Fund

Matador’s Youth Scholarship Fund was created by the Matador community to provide low-income, urban high school students with the opportunity to travel abroad each summer.

Thank you for helping us raise more than $9,000 to send students on life-changing trips abroad! Meet the scholarship recipients below.

About Matador’s Youth Scholarship Fund
Because so many young people lack the resources to travel, Matador has created a travel scholarship for low-income, urban high school students.

The recipients of the scholarship are chosen from a group of high school juniors who have completed the Coro Exploring Leadership Program, an innovative youth leadership program that trains low-income, urban high school juniors to become changemakers in their school and neighborhood communities.

To supplement their scholarships, they are also required to raise at least $500 of their trip costs. Meet the recipients of the Matador’s Youth Scholarship Fund below and click the links to read more about their life-changing travel experiences.

Brave New Travelers: Current Recipients

Edgar Lua | Berkeley High School, Berkeley, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I would like to participate in a travel abroad program because I am eager to see what is outside of the United States and what I have seen of Mexico. I feel that participating in a program like this would allow me to experience a different culture and how it is to live outside of the country. I want to help in communities as much as I can and hope that while I am there I can bring smiles and help enough to be remembered. Most importantly I am excited and open to learning from the people in the Nicaraguan communities and it would be a privilege to be able to see the differences in perspectives, values and lifestyles.”

Vanessa Olivares | Lowell High School, San Francisco, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “Traveling abroad is one of the few things I’ve wanted to do my whole life. I have never been out of the state and I’ve always wanted to go to one of the countries where my family comes from and my dad is from Nicaragua. I want to be able to grow as an individual and see the places I’ve only imagined of seeing. Traveling abroad, to me, is getting to see the world in a new perspective and getting familiar with what’s in the world outside of my community.”

Calvin Kuang | El Cerrito High School, Richmond, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I have always wondered what makes developing countries the way they are; there are many negative stereotypes concerning them that contribute to my preconceived notions. I feel that allowing myself to be oblivious to the hardships and wonders of developing countries is unacceptable. Through this experience, I hope to find myself becoming a model for change, no matter how small. I want to be able to experience the hardships, as well as the wonders, with the people of Nicaragua and find out what changes I am capable of making in other communities and what I can learn from those I meet.”

Jocelyn Aguayo | Skyline High School, Oakland, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I applied because this trip will contribute to my growth of becoming a leader because it will open my mind about the problems outside of the US and how they are affecting us. To be a strong leader you need to know about the problems surrounding you and how others are trying to fix them. I also want to participate in this program to gain more independence so I can be a stronger person for my family.”

Nora Katz | Oakland Technical High School, Oakland, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I think it’s not just a privilege, but a duty to be able to have an understanding of other cultures. Living in the United States, and even smaller, my Bay Area community can give me an unrealistic view of the rest of the world. It is incredibly important for me to, not only hear about, but see the world and the various issues other places face. I hope this experience gives me the inspiration I need to make change, broader than just my small community.”

Continue your support of Matador’s Youth Scholarship Fund while traveling smart by purchasing travel insurance from Adventure Shield, a Travel Guard Insurance Broker, who is donating 20% of the net revenue from each Travel Guard product purchased to Matador’s Youth Scholarship Fund. Click here to purchase.

Brave New Travelers: Past Recipients

Jose Barboza | Mission High School, San Francisco, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “Although I was born in the United States, the rest of my family was still moving from Nicaragua trying to escape the war and the political turmoil. My father was a Sandinista Officer and came to this country as a political refugee and my mother’s side of the family had lost a brother. I have always felt strong ties to Nicaragua, but I feel I have no knowledge of its customs, people and lifestyles and I feel disconnected from the rest of my family. I hope this experience will allow me to build stronger relationships with my culture and family. I also want to learn how I can help developing countries achieve their true potential.” Read Jose’s Travel Reflection

Christina Craner | Oakland High School, Oakland CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I’ve never traveled before out of the country by myself. To visit a new place and see how other people live will open my eyes to the rest of the world. I hope this experience will broaden my views of what is possible in my life and what I’m capable of. Since I don’t really know about my own culture, learning about other people and their living styles will help motivate me to learn more of who I am and respect my culture more.” Read Christina’s Travel Reflection

Rosely Villa | Galileo High School, San Francisco, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “It seems like it will be a life changing experience. One of the things I want to do before I die is travel to as many places as I can. I want to see, hear and smell all the different places and cultures the world has to offer. I feel the best part of this program has to do with having the opportunity to work in the local communities in Nicaragua, which is something I wish to do because we as youth can empower other youth to stand up and make change in their own communities.” Read Rosely’s Travel Reflection

Isaac Robinson | El Cerrito High School, Richmond CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I applied because I have never traveled outside of California before and I would like to see another country and experience different parts of the world. I would like to develop a new outlook on the simple things in life that I know I take for granted and have a new experience that challenges me and enhances my leadership skills. I would like to learn how I can help people and see how they can help me be a better person.”

Yan Hua Li | Balboa High School, San Francisco, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “Since I immigrated from China only 5 years ago, I didn’t know English well and it was hard for me to communicate with people. At first I didn’t try and sat there quietly, but I found out that I wasn’t going to learn anything if I kept doing it like that. So I stepped up and joined Coro’s leadership program. It was scary but I did it and now I feel like I can do anything. I want to travel because I want to gain even more courage and learn how to be more independent and gain more experiences how to solve problems in my community.” Read Yan Hua’s Travel Reflection

Cecilia Young | Burton High School, San Francisco, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I want to participate in a travel abroad program because I have never set foot outside of this country before. This opportunity is really big for me because I have never been way from my family for over a week. I want to learn about different cultures, how people live, what they eat, and what they do on the daily basis. I want to meet people my own age and explore their world, opening my eyes to see how different it may be. Maybe their world may not be so different from mine.” Read Cecilia’s Travel Reflection

Raylene Lopez | Burton High School, San Francisco, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I believe that every part of the world has something very special to offer, but if you never step out of your comfort zone then you will never discover those special things. This experience will teach me more about myself, and about new strengths I never new I had. I also hope it will inspire me to learn more about my Latin culture, that I have become distant from.” Read Raylene’s Travel Reflection

Syeda Jones | Oakland Technical High School, Oakland, CA
Why did you apply for this scholarship? “This will be the first time I’ve traveled out of the country by myself and spent this much time away from my family. I hope I grow more independent from this experience by pushing myself to do things I never thought I was capable of doing. I am ready to get out, to explore and experience a freedom that I never have at home.” Read Syeda’s Travel Reflection

Andy Gee | San Leandro High School, San Leandro, CA
Why did you apply for this scholarship? “It really hits me in the heart when I see issues that are not being addressed in our communities. I want to help make a change and help better my community. I hope that this experience can show me more about the realities of life and issues that people face in different countries. Speaking to local leaders in another country and asking them about the issues and things that they do to help address it will really contribute a lot to what I plan to do in the future to help my own community.” Read Andy’s Travel Reflection

Jennifer Lee | Balboa High School, San Francisco, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “For my whole life, I have secluded myself from people of different races because I was worried about having difficulties connecting with them. I thought this trip would be an opportunity to open my eyes to the amazing cultural diversity that exists all over and push me out of the shell I usually hide in.” Read Jennifer’s Travel Reflection

Toke Adewale | Mt. Eden High School, Hayward, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I was born in Nigeria, but I don’t remember my time there and I felt ashamed. Traveling abroad would give me pride and joy. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, see what it is like to be in other people’s shoes, and have the oportunity to share the experiences that they have.” Read Toke’s Travel Reflection

Sofia Gago | Balboa High School, San Francisco, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I read a quote, ‘Just as you cannot teach a person how to cook by reading a cookbook, you cannot prepare a youth for tomorrow out of a textbook.’ As much as I like school, I also agree with them. The experience is what shapes us, and I thought this experience could help really prepare me for my future.” Read Sophia’s Travel Reflection

Hernaci’ona Henry | Mandela High School, Oakland, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I’ve never had the option to travel outside of the United States. I wanted to get the experience of being introduced to a new culture and experience life outside of my own environment. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and learn to better the world as I become an adult.” Read Hernaci’ona’s Travel Reflection

Daniel Campos | St. Ignatius Prep, San Francisco, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “Being a single mother, my mom does her best to support my brother and I, but my family doesn’t have the money to spend on traveling outside of the country. I don’t like having a narrow view of the world. I wanted to gain a new outlook on the world that will help me become a person for and with the people.” Read Daniel’s Travel Reflection

Marcus He | Gateway High School, San Francisco, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “ Being someone who has never traveled outside of California, this was a new and exciting experience for me. I wanted to experience a new culture, other races of people and see how people live outside of the US. What are their daily lives composed of? Are they rich or poor? What are their dreams? Read Marcus’ Travel Reflection

Prescilla Ramirez | Lionel Wilson College Prep, Oakland, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I wanted to have an experience where judgment and stereotyping were not a factor in learning about cultures. I was so tremendously happy to go to any place in the world to experience customs, language, and history I had not seen before.” Read Prescilla’s Travel Reflection

Chen-Chen Huo | Lowell High School, San Francisco, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I am a firm believer that life is short and I need to make the most of it before I die. I would have hated to finish my life with a narrow-minded, typical American view of the world. I hoped to gain unbiased knowledge from traveling abroad, and meet unique people that have different viewpoints from me so I can see solutions to problems that I would not have seen.” Read Chen-Chen’s Travel Reflection

LaTasha Bankhead | Mandela High School, Oakland, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “To see other people in a different part of the world and how they live is a fun and educational experience for me because I had never traveled outside of California. It really meant a lot to me to meet and learn about people who live totally different lives from me.” Read LaTasha’s Travel Reflection

Priscilla Yip | Lowell High School, San Francisco, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “ I wanted to participate in a travel abroad program mostly because I wanted to build my confidence and become a more independent person. Growing up, I have always depended on my parents to help me. This trip challenged me and allowed me to step outside of my little nutshell and helped me realize what is really out there in the world.” Read Priscilla’s Travel Reflection

Barbara Jaing | Thurgood Marshall High, San Francisco, CA
Why did you apply for the scholarship? “I hoped to gain new understandings of unfamiliar languages, customs, beliefs, and values. I wanted to expand my outlook on life and learn what more is offered than what I know now. I want to learn more about how people live their lives.” Read Barbara’s Travel Reflection

Support Matador’s Youth Scholarship Fund while traveling smart by purchasing travel insurance from Adventure Shield, a Travel Guard Insurance Broker, who is donating 20% of the net revenue from each Travel Guard product purchased to Matador’s Youth Scholarship Fund.

Click here to learn more.

Projects

MatadorU - Learn travel writing and photography.

Breaking Free - New web-series about expats living abroad and following their dreams.