GU4LA Peer Mentor Wins $500 PLUS ME Scholarship

West Adams Preparatory High School freshman Yenifer Herrera has been selected as a recipient of The PLUS ME Project’s My Story Matters Scholarship, an honor that comes with a $500 award.

Yenifer, along with five other scholarship winners, will share her powerful story during the third annual LISTEN 2022, a live special PLUS ME event taking place at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, at Marlborough High School.

“It doesn’t feel real,” said Yenifer, a GEAR UP 4 LA Peer Mentor and aspiring fiction writer. “I remember filling out the application, but I didn’t think I’d be the winner. As a ninth-grader, I won it!”

PLUS ME – a proud GEAR UP 4 LA partner since 2014 – empowers students and parents to discover, develop, and share their own personal narratives and build confidence.

Yenifer’s application submission included a story in which she discussed the challenges of comparing herself to classmates – “Are they smarter than me?” – striving for perfection and making friends. She also had to contend with completing middle school virtually, although, she earned the title of valedictorian. After overcoming those challenges and enrolling at West Adams Prep, Yenifer found balance and happiness.

“It took quite the journey to get where I am today,” Yenifer wrote in her essay. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I grew from all those experiences, and they led me to the person I am today.”

The GEAR UP team has been supporting Yenifer since September 2021, when she entered the GU4LA office in search of scholarship opportunities.

“We are experiencing a full-circle moment at the GEAR UP office,” Counselor Aide Antonio Guereca said. “Yenifer embodies what the GEAR UP Graduate looks like: she is proactive, self-aware, and motivated to strive for the best version she can be.

“Our team at West Adams wants to let her know that we are only getting started. Congrats Yenifer! To many more wins!”

The public is invited to celebrate these storytelling champions and listen to their stories at LISTEN 2022.

RSVP for the free in-person event (with a virtual option) here.