A well known Bronxite is honoring his late mother by helping the next generation of single moms.
Bill Aguado, former longtime executive director of the Bronx Council on the Arts, started the Josephine Aguado Scholarships several years ago for students at CUNY Hostos College who are single mothers.
This March, the Hostos Community College Foundation awarded the $1,000 scholarships to six students who are succeeding academically while being single mothers.
“I remember all the sacrifices my mother made to make sure I had a good stable home,” he said, noting how important it is to support these single moms and give them a vote of confidence.
“It’s not just the money that goes to the students,” Aguado said, “but the affirmation they receive that we’re aware of the efforts they make to improve their lives.”
Aguado said that if his mother were alive as a single mother today, she would be attending Hostos.
“She never had the opportunity to go to college, but she was always reading, always trying to better herself.”
He never got into trouble, he noted, because he was terrified of disappointing her.
Aguado said the experience of meeting the scholarship winners each year brings back happy memories of his mother.
He’s consistently impressed by the Hostos students and their motivation to work hard and improve their situation.
One such student is Samantha Maldonado“For me it was like a big gift,” said scholarship winner Samantha Maldonado, who has a five-year-old daughter.
Maldonado, the only one in her family to pursue education beyond high school, is studying community health, with plans to pursue a masters in social work.
Between raising her daughter, attending school full-time and her work-study job, Maldonado said she’s constantly exhausted. But it’s all worth it to her because it’s what is best for her daughter.
“I know if I get an education I can give her a better life and she will follow in my footsteps,” she said.
The other 2014 scholarship winners were Ichrak El-Yousfi, Idritza Ramos, Jacqueline Pizarro, Lisa Ledesma, and Natasha Lloyd.
“If they commit to raising their kids as much as they commit to their education,” Aguado said of the scholarship winners, “it’s the best investment I could have made.”