In February 2021, a colleague and dear friend, Max Bonilla from Expanded Reason in Spain contacted the foundation about a young Spanish woman who was struggling to continue her education while trying to support her very poor family.
Max shared the story of his neighbor, a 25-year-old eldest daughter of an abused, near-blind, single mother. They and the other four children live upstairs from Max and his family.
The girl, Laura, is a tremendously devout and bright Catholic that a few years ago, against the wishes of her mother and grandparents, began, out of intense devotion, to study philosophy and theology at the pontifical university in Madrid. They wanted her to get a job, instead, and support the mother and her siblings. She has been very successful academically, but the family struggles financially a great deal.
We learned that Max and his wife help occasionally, and Laura had a scholarship that covered her tuition, but living expenses required her to work a menial job at a cafeteria in town so she slept little, worked long hours, had no time to study and if something didn’t change, she wouldn’t be able to graduate. Laura lost a lot of weight and become very sad, because of she was under so much family & financial pressure to abandon her studies in favor of the cafeteria job.
Max’s hope was to see if the SKSF could help her financially so that she can continue her studies to finish her last year of the STB (and if things go well), Laura should continue for her licentiate and doctorate. She is that good and would be a wonderful professor someday. But because of her financial difficulties, she faced a life of cleaning tables instead, dreaming of what could have been if she could have finished university.
Upon hearing Laura’s story, August Turak personally ponied up $5000 in an emergency donation to help her remain at university and support her financially through our Educating Emily Fund.
Additionally, the foundation offered a donor match challenge providing an additional $3000 for Laura’s educational pursuits. Sure, we could certainly tell you the many ways this made a difference in Laura’s life… even better though, are Laura’s own words describing what our support means to her:
First of all, sorry for my bad English. I am trying to learn more English by the time you come to Spain.
I want you to know that in this time I have been able to help my family, I have started to play sports, I have been able to go back to the psychologist, pay for university and many other things that I can do thanks to your help. In addition, it helps me a lot to live this experience with the nuns with whom I live.
I speak with the Mother Superior every week, and this helps me a lot spiritually. I am learning a lot and getting to know myself more every day. It has been a process as beautiful as it is difficult. The perfect word to define this time I think would be: katharsis. I have time for daily prayer with them and to go to mass every day. It is such a gift. There are still times that I think it is a dream. Thank you for making this possible.
And what a joy to see that you help so many people. Thanks for telling me. I pray for you and for Melissa. I will pray for them too.
God bless you. United in prayer.
Yes, there are a lot of things August Turak could buy with the money he personally donated for Laura, but Turak wouldn’t trade a note like this for any of it!
Read more about our Educating Emily Fund