“The Theory of Chaos proposes that a butterfly’s wings in Brazil can cause a tornado in Texas. Is it not ironic that chaos, something hectic and unplanned, would not happen at all if it was not articulated and timed perfectly? I see this theory as an important analogy for my life. When I was sixteen years old, my mother became chronically ill. She was in the hospital for over a year, with over 6 surgeries, and a seemingly endless list of complications. We lost everything… and my little sister and I began living with our grandmother. Our house was taken and sold, cars repossessed, and most importantly: our mom was still sick. In the blink of an eye, my life was changed forever.

When I was seventeen, I moved from Texas to Arizona to live with my aunt, but spent some time bouncing between family members. I was lost, sad, and confused. I had so much responsibility – more than any of my peers at this age – and I was always mad for being put in this situation. But as I sit here at eighteen years old, only days away from graduation, I am completely and utterly happy. Without the chaos, I would never be where I am now. My experiences have allowed me to grow in ways that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

With YOTO’s help, I am learning to do things on my own – like filing for FAFSA, taxes, applying for scholarships, and even scheduling doctors’ appointments. What I desire for my future is to wake up every morning, thrilled to go to work as a doctor in order to help and heal others. I plan to attend the University of Arizona’s Pre-Physiology program in the College of Medicine. It gives me a sense of peace knowing that my experiences and hardships can be used in service to help others with their own worries… because I have already endured and survived.”

Evangelina graduated from Sabino High School in the spring of 2017 with a 3.36 GPA and will begin attending the University of Arizona in the fall of 2018. She is the recipient of a Youth On Their Own scholarship to help her continue her studies.

Note: The above text was taken directly from Evangelina’s scholarship essay.