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Comcast Supports Migrant Students in the Sacramento Area and Beyond

Steps to College Fair Sacramento 2024

Guest Writer: Adriana Arvizo, Senior Manager of External Communications at Comcast

When my colleague mentioned that our company, Comcast, will support migrant students through the 2024 Steps to College Fair, I got very excited. She explained that Comcast California and Telemundo 33 will contribute $10,000 and 100 laptop computers to the cause. She asked me if I would be open to speaking on stage during the event. Not thirty seconds had passed, and, in my mind, I had already started reciting what I wanted to say to these students. 

On its 14th consecutive year, Steps to College is Northern California’s largest bilingual and binational university fair. It is a joint project of the Consulate General of Mexico in Sacramento, the California Student Aid Commission, Cien Amigos advocacy group, and the Mexican Cultural Center of Northern California, as well as public and private institutions such Comcast and its sister entity, Telemundo 33. The fair is designed to help families and students navigate a successful and often complicated path to college.

On the morning of the fair on February 3, 2024, as we listened to live performances of Mariachi and admired dancing horses, over 2,000 migrant students, mostly Latinos from over 30 institutions in Sacramento and surrounding areas, arrived from places as far as Chico, CA. Most of these students arrived with their families, eager to receive guidance on how to apply for college. Throughout the day, students and their families attended bilingual workshops that covered topics such as how to apply for Financial Aid (FAFSA & CADA), resources for Dreamers, and the importance of mental health for parents and their children. 

Families also learned about Internet Essentials from Comcast, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive high-speed Internet adoption program for low-income households. Project UP backs Internet Essentials, Comcast’s 10-year $1B commitment to advance digital equity and build a future of unlimited possibilities. 

This event is a noble cause. But the reason I got so excited is because this matter for me is personal. I was born in a working-class household in Chihuahua, Mexico. Growing up, I was mesmerized by American culture, listening to the Backstreet Boys and dreaming of attending a school that looked like Bayside High School from the Saved by the Bell TV Show. It was a pipe dream. My family didn’t have the resources to pay the college tuition that international students usually pay. Until I learned about a scholarship for bilingual/binational students to attend the University of Texas at El Paso. And that’s how my immigration story began.

Was it easy? No way. It took a lot to navigate a complicated immigration and school system in another country with a foreign language. With the help of organizations such as the ones I mentioned in this article and great sacrifice from my parents, I graduated from college in the United States and built a successful career.

That scholarship allowed me to pursue my dream and finish a degree in Communications. Twenty years later, here I am as the External Communications Senior Manager for a Fortune 50 Company, sharing the stage with the Mayor of Sacramento, Darrell Steinberg, and the Consul General of Mexico in Sacramento, Christian Tonatiuh Gonzalez Jimenez, at the Steps to College Fair. During their speeches, both leaders assured the students that we were all gathered that day because we believed in them. I shared that I understood how hard this path can be, but there is support. It is an honor to work for a company that understands that a monetary contribution, access to the internet and computers are building blocks that allow young people to achieve their dreams, just like mine.

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