When Jacki and Gilbert Cisneros suddenly became millionaires after hitting the Mega Millions lottery, the couple knew they would use their newfound gains to help children learn in the area.
With the lump-sum payment from the lottery, they established a charitable foundation to benefit Hispanic student education.
Although the couple no longer lives in Pico Rivera, their dedication to El Rancho Unified School District has endured.
On Thursday, the Cisneros family launched a Bag of Books campaign at Durfee Elementary School.
“We’re very passionate about education,” said Jacki Cisneros, who attended Durfee until the sixth grade when her family moved to Yorba Linda.
She and her husband, along with others, including Rep. Grace Napolitano, handed out book bags filled with at least a dozen books to the school’s 78 kindergarten students.
Every one of ERUSD’s eight elementary schools, as well as two private Catholic schools will receive books.
“This is just a positive beginning for each student as they embark on their pathway to literacy,” Principal Melissa Garcia said.
The book program is the brainchild of Jacki Cisneros’ mom, Lydia Terrazas Wells, a retired
educator who taught and was a principal in ERUSD.”She expressed the importance of giving kindergartners books, because that’s where it all starts,” Jacki Cisneros said.The bag also included Spanish-language books.”There are some parents who feel alienated because of a language barrier,” Garcia said. “Now they can read with their children.”The Bag of Books program is just one of the ways the Cisneros are building a culture of higher education in this city.In support of the Generation 1st Degree initiative, the Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and ERUSD, are working together toward the goal of having a college degree earned in every Pico Rivera household.”My husband is a first-generation college graduate in his family,” Jacki Cisneros said. “Our ultimate goal is to grow the number of Hispanics graduating from college.”
via: pasadena star news.