Teen's selfless act for single mother struggling to pay rent
A teenager with dreams of attending a prestigious school selflessly gave her college savings to her mother to help her pay rent.
Alondra Carmona, who attended high school in Houston, in the US state of Texas, dreamed of attending Barnard College in New York since she was 15 years old.
In February last year, things took a turn for the worse when her mother broke her ankle and could no longer work.
Then the coronavirus pandemic began to devastate the US.
Alondra explained on a GoFundMe page that Covid only added to the financial problems her family already had.
“I come from a single-parent household and my mum worked every day to pay rent,” she explained.
At the end of last year, Alondra’s dreams were realised when she was accepted into Barnard College.
She also decided the wanted to pursue a career in science after undertaking a six-week research internship at Rice University.
“While at Rice, I found that I wanted to pursue an M.D./PhD,” she explained on GoFundMe.
“This secured my thoughts of studying under STEM and research. All of the programs I attended were a product of my enthusiasm for learning more about medicine and science.”
However, things took a turn this month when her mother, Martha Zepeda, revealed she was two months behind in rent and is likely to be evicted in March.
Ms Zepeda had not had a job for three months, something she hid from the family.
Alondra explained to ABC7 her mother didn’t tell her daughters because she didn’t want to stress them.
She added all of her savings she had for college would now be going towards helping her mother pay rent.
“As much as I dream of going to Barnard College, it is not looking promising right now,” the high school student said.
“I am turning to [GoFundMe] as a last resort because Barnard will not be able to change my financial aid package.”
Alondra told ABC7 said she had around $A2300 saved up for college. Some of that came from the internship she completed at Rice University, though she also worked part time at fast food restaurant Chipotle.
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The GoFundMe was set up just four days ago, but it has already surpassed the goal by $25,000.
In an update, Alondra expressed her gratitude for the money that was raised and to those leaving kind messages for her.
“I can’t even describe how grateful I am,” she said.
“I have no words. Everyone is so supportive and loving, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
In another update, Alondra said Barnard had gifted her a grant, something she was “tremendously grateful” for in addition to all the donors on the GoFundMe.
“I hope this can offset all the costs. Thank you so much! You have all made my dream come true,” she said.
Speaking to Good Morning America, Alondra said her mother had always worked hard and made sacrifices for her children.
"She's also wanted me to have a better education, and I got accepted to my dream school all because of her," she said.
Several donors have left encouraging messages for the teenager and her family.
“Go change the world!!” one person said, along with their donation.
“Congratulations on your acceptance to Barnard. Good luck, Future Doctor, and don’t forget to have some fun along the way!” another said.
Others were floored by Alondra’s generosity and willingness to use her money for college to help out her mother.
“You and your mum deserve everything great. Go get that education. Your mum is an absolute saint and obviously raised an incredibly kind person,” one person said.
Ms Zepeda told Good Morning America Alondra used to dress up as a doctor when she was little, adding that she was “happy and proud” of her daughter.
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