A Free Sandwich Can Make the Difference for Some Migrant Worker Children in College
Wayne D'Orio, The Hechinger Report/Pacific Standard
When Jerry Gomez-Delgado thinks back to his first year at California State University-Fresno, he remembers how close he was to dropping out and going to work on a dairy farm with his father.
Gomez-Delgado says help from the university's College Assistance Migrant Program allowed him to survive. The federal program, created in 1972 to support children of agricultural workers succeed once they get to college, counseled Gomez-Delgado on selecting a roommate, gave advice on interacting with professors, and helped him apply for a desperately needed part-time job. But most of all, he remembers the program's constant flow of just-in-time supports like the free sandwiches.
By persisting through his first year and later thriving, Gomez-Delgado's success has had a ripple effect on his family. He was the first to attend college, and inspired his sister, Fabiola, to enter Fresno's program in 2015. When Jerry earned a degree in 2017, his graduation ceremony swayed his youngest sister, Julia, to follow in his footsteps.