Congratulations to Jose Hernandez, HOPE SF 2023 Scholarship recipient!

Jose Hernandez is a lifelong resident of Potrero Hill, one of the four HOPE SF communities. Passionate about giving back to the community, Jose works as a Peer Supervisor with the HOPE SF Champions, a youth leadership development and service-learning program that uses peer-to-peer engagement and youth-led projects to impact social change in public housing. Recently, Jose applied for the HOPE SF Scholarship, an annual financial aid opportunity for HOPE SF youth aimed at reducing financial obstacles to achieving higher education. With the help of a career counselor, he dedicated hours to the application, reflecting on his experience as a HOPE SF resident, his future, and how he hopes to continue making an impact in the community. As his first year at San Francisco State University came to a close, Jose was awarded the HOPE SF 2023 Scholarship – a proud achievement toward his career and academic goals. Through this opportunity, Jose hopes to serve as an example of what is possible for HOPE SF youth.

“People shouldn’t be deciding what you want to do, you should be deciding on your own. And if it’s something that you’re passionate about, I feel like you need to put your best foot forward and stand behind it by all means.”

A natural leader, Jose plans to pursue a career that will allow him to continue helping others. For this reason, he has chosen to study social work at San Francisco State University. He makes a connection between what he is learning in school to the issues he observes in his own community and brings the information back to residents to help find a solution. Jose is also curious about the ways that equitable policy change can impact families living in HOPE SF and the broader San Francisco. He recently traveled to Texas as a My Brother’s My Sister’s Keeper San Francisco (MBSK-SF) representative, where he applied his knowledge of policy change to conversations around opportunity gaps for young people of color.

In addition to being awarded the HOPE SF Scholarship, Jose is celebrating many other achievements and milestones this year. Building on his success as Best Teacher of the Year with Teacher Academy at Abraham Lincoln High School, Jose was promoted to Peer Supervisor with the HOPE SF Champions. He also recently gave a speech at the San Francisco Mayor’s Office, proudly sharing his experience as a HOPE SF Champion and advocating for thriving HOPE SF communities.

Reflecting on his life in Potrero Hill and how that experience has shaped who he is today, Jose acknowledges that, at times, life felt challenging and unfair. Many times, there were not enough resources for those that needed them, including him, his family, and the neighbors he cared for, which sparked his passion to create positive change and give back to the community. His family has been a huge source of support throughout this journey, as well as his Potrero Hill neighbors whom he has great love and admiration for. He gives credit to HOPE SF Resident Leaders like Monica Ferrey and Uzuri Pease-Green who always made sure everyone in the community felt comfortable and had the support they needed. Jose’s community continues to inspire him to lead by example and work purposefully toward meaningful and lasting change.

“What I want to do is show that anyone can dream. And it doesn’t matter how big your dream is, you can achieve it no matter what. I think my biggest advice is if you have a dream, don’t be afraid to chase it. I want to be able to show that I’m proof.”

A huge congratulations to Jose and to all the HOPE SF 2023 Scholarship recipients, and best wishes for many more successes in your future!

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