"SJ Aspires showed me what it takes to get to college and understand d the application process. My parents didn't have a college education-I'll be the first in my family to go to college. I'm excited to use my scholarship!"
– Jesus, San Jose Aspires Participant - Attending SJSU
“One of our absolute favorite learning classes. I cannot believe how much my child is growing in their artistic talent and knowledge of the ABCs. Thank you so much for offering these classes!”
-Summer Learning Program Parent
“My learner inspires me! Now he goes shopping outside his neighborhood because he feels that he can speak with the clerks and understand when they speak to him. I’m excited because that means his world is now much larger. All of this is due to his motivation and hard work. Thanks for putting us together!”
– Joan, PAR Volunteer Tutor
“I gained a lot from the program. It was hard, but I learned that if I want something, I need to be perseverant. Right now, I am looking to obtain a college diploma. I plan to become a coach for parents who have autistic kids. It is never too late to achieve your dream!”
– Sylvia Nolasco, COHS Class of 2021
“The hotspot has been great! It gives my children peace of mind knowing they will be able to access their online classrooms without being dropped by the internet. One less stress factor. Thank you!”
– SJPL Member
“There are not a lot of places where you can learn coding, especially for free, and the library is a hub for the community and having it here makes it easy for people. I love being able to help my students when they are feeling stuck and when they see the solution. I really enjoy that smile on their face.”
– Prothit Halder, Coding5K Teacher
Ivan Tang, SJ Aspires, Graduating Class of 2021
Ivan Tang is a first-generation college student in his freshmen year at University of California, Los Angeles, currently studying nursing to pursue his dream of becoming a travel nurse. He is an active member of the school’s community, participating in several clubs and applying for on-campus jobs. He plans to run for the Rotaract club as well as another community service club’s board in the next year. And despite his already busy schedule—jam-packed with classes, clubs, and social life—he has applied to become a study hall commuter driver and a Resident Assistant.
By anybody’s standards, Ivan is the prime example of an exceptional student and young adult. But Ivan says that he wasn’t always so engaged and outstanding in his community. Before going through SJ Aspires program, he struggled with procrastination.
“One lifelong skill I learned from SJ Aspires has to be my ability to not procrastinate as much. I slacked on fulfilling the requirements to earn the full Aspires scholarship but I think I learned a thing or two from slacking on it for so long,” Ivan says, “it really does affect your academics and everything else like work, school, even relationships.”
Ivan says that SJ Aspires helped him in more ways than just overcoming procrastination. While his high school counselor was a great mentor who encouraged him to apply to UCs, he said that his counselor “didn’t have the full knowledge or bandwidth to support me throughout my high school years.”
“A really big thing that I honestly did not know was that I had the ability to apply to 4 CSUs and UCs without paying any fees. And I definitely did not know that before SJ Aspires,” Ivan said. Since starting his freshman year at UCLA, Ivan says that he has gone through a great amount of self-growth, specifically by seeking discomfort.
“I think embodying this idea really helps in a lot of situations, especially going to college as a first-generation student. Seeking discomfort means it’s definitely going to be uncomfortable. Going to college, there’s going to be a lot of new things that you’re not really aware of, you’re not going to fully understand. And by that, I mean academics. It’s definitely going to be hard. And so, understand that it’s not going to be a comfortable experience, but it’s going to be worth it at the end.” SJPLF is so proud of Ivan for taking that step and seeking discomfort to achieve his dreams of becoming a travel nurse.
Meet The Students
Learn more about the students who benefit from this innovative partnership between the San José Public Library, Mayor Sam Liccardo, and the San José Public Library Foundation!
Library Funding Meets the Needs of the Community
For Sandra Patricia Madrigal Ruiz, it was the Library’s Family, Friend, and Neighbor Caregiver Support Network that helped her pursue her dream of teaching. “I never imagined myself taking college classes,” she says. “And I could never have done it without the support of this program.”
A Full-Circle Story Spanning 35 Years
This is a story of the 35-year intersection of the San José Public Library Foundation (SJPLF) and San Jose’s Mendoza Family. The Foundation is celebrating its 35th Anniversary of providing critical financial support to the San José Public Library (SJPL).
Julie and Anthony Mendoza are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary, which marks the beginning of their family’s deep and transformative connection to the San José Public Library.
Reflecting back, SJ Aspires especially helped Ivan overcome procrastinatingon hisresume assignment, which became one of Ivan’s favorite experiences in the program.“I thought that was really cool because if I wasn’t pushed to make my resume, I probably wouldn’t be able to apply tothecurrent jobs that I want to apply to right now
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