Impact Story

Erlinda Tercero – 2019 Girls Inc. Graduate


Erlinda Tercero has had a far from an easy upbringing and yet in the Fall of 2019, she will be taking her first classes to pursue a degree in Biochemistry. When Erlinda was in 5th-grade she lost her mom to cancer, after that it was one challenge after another. After her family used all their financial resources caring for her mom they were forced to live in a car for the remainder of her 5th-grade year. Her stepdad did what he could to care for Erlinda and three younger siblings in this little car. In 6th-grade, Erlinda’s passport was weeks from expiring and this meant she would need to return to her homeland in Guatemala. It was until 7th-grade that Erlinda found support among her family members. Her aunt and uncle from Escondido, CA reached out and offered her an opportunity to return to Escondido and focus on her education and pursue college after graduation.

Although Erlinda was given the opportunity to live in Escondido, this meant leaving her younger siblings in Guatemala. Her relatives only had the financial means to support and feed one more mouth and wouldn’t be able to take in her younger siblings.  This was a tough decision for her because she already experienced being apart from family and this time it would be more permanent. Erlinda ultimately chose to come to the United States and work diligently to pursue an education. Her goal is to help her siblings come to the United States and offer them the same opportunity she was offered. In the US she has stability and infinite opportunities that she is definitely taking advantage of to build a career and future that will offer her financial security and independence. In May 2019, Erlinda will be the first in her family to graduate high school.

Hear Erlinda and other graduate stories – filled with challenges, achievements and plans for the future – at the 2019 Graduation Celebration on May 9: