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Lender Vega- Success Story

BTSPhilly   |   Jul 10, 2015

Lender is a true testament of grit and determination being key factors to success. He was a member of the Edison High School wrestling program during the first year we established partnerships with high schools within Philadelphia. It was clear from the start that Lender was willing to put in whatever time was required to achieve his goals. Only 47% of students that attend Edison graduate on-time and less than 10% go on to post-secondary education. The neighborhood where he lived was riddled with poverty and crime. That environment had no impact on Lender’s goals of becoming the first person in his family to attend college and the first person from his school to wrestle in college. While at Edison Lender became a leader within the school and as part of the wrestling program. He helped lead the team to the first ever Philadelphia Public League Championship and he qualified for the regional tournament. He also graduated on time and enrolled in Gloucester Community College the following fall. The transition from a school like Edison was challenging and Lender ultimately transitioned out of school and began working and coaching. At no point did he lose connection with Beat the Streets Philadelphia and he continued to find ways to make his goals around obtaining a college degree a reality. As he went through this transition, he became dedicated to supporting other youth as a coach. He made himself available for any opportunity to give back to his community in this manner and has become a key presence in the lives of hundreds of kids throughout our programs. Along the way, Lender restarted his effort to earn his degree through the Community College of Philadelphia and was recently admitted to East Stroudsburg University. He has set his sights on a degree in Education so that he can ultimately come back to give back to the community as a teacher and coach in hopes of affording similar opportunities as those that he had through Beat the Streets Philadelphia. Lender sums up his experience with wrestling in the following manner. “Wrestling was an escape from my living situation. My father did not allow me to be outside after 6:00 p.m. which limited my ability to make friends. I had to make friends in sports. I developed a large network of friends through wrestling and the wrestling community became my second family. Beat the Streets was an eye opener for me and it helped me understand that there is a better life than what I was used to. This involved considering colleges and what steps needed to be taken to get myself in a better situation in life.” Lender will be successful as he moves forward into this next step in his life because he has developed grit and determination to work through an indirect path to a degree. There will certainly be challenges along the way, but the in no way will deter him from his ultimate goal of becoming the first college graduate from his family.