Six Del Rey teens received a scholarship of either $1,000 or $1,500 thanks to an alumni association created by older generations passionate about their roots.
"It started out as a social effort to bring us together, and then we decided we needed a purpose, so that's the scholarship, " said founder Vickie Trevino.
Del Rey native and founder of the association, Vickie Trevino, says she made calls about eight years ago to join forces and what started as a group of 12 now has over 65 members.
She says for a community as small as Del Rey, this union is big.
Del Rey Elementary School Principal Pete Muñoz says he remembers that call.
"She was so passionate about what she wanted to do, and I was on board because with just hearing her passion, how could I not," Muñoz said.
Retired pediatrician John Sanchez says giving back feels like he is paying a lot forward.
"Her family and my family were good friends. Everyone in town knew each other, and they gave so much to me. I would not be where I am today if it wasn't for Del Rey and people here," Sanchez said.
The organization collaborated with Pom Wonderful, a company with Valley roots known for selling fruit beverages nationwide.
They matched the money raised, and in total, 8 thousand dollars were awarded in scholarships this year.
Money, recipients say, is setting them up for success.
"A scholarship of that amount is very beneficial to us, especially because we have to travel to Fresno for school," said Jessica Cisneros and Evelyn Quintero.
And although they haven't left for school, they're already thinking about giving back themselves.
"I also want to be a part of the alumni association. "
The hope is for the association to grow with new faces of all generations, helping strengthen the community.
Trevino says it's the unity and support of the group that has created more change than just scholarship opportunities.
"There is no more garbage on the streets, it is the best thing we could have done for the community, and we are not done. We are just starting," said Trevino.
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