Their sacrifice was worth it

31st Jan 2024

This blog is part of our “We Are CPLC” series of letters from CPLC staff. We hope you are inspired by these stories of our community by our familia. When you donate to CPLC, you directly support their work. 

I always knew I’d go to college one day. 

It was never a question of “if,” but “how.” 

My name is Leslie Deras Fraijo, and I’m the Creative Administrator in the CPLC Marketing Department. 

The story of me starts with the story of my parents. They immigrated here from Mexico with little more than each other, un veliz (a suitcase), and a dream: that their kids would receive an education to have a better life than they did. 

They worked hard to provide this opportunity for me, so I worked hard in school to make them proud. I wanted them to know that their sacrifice was worth it. 

My grades were good, so going to college felt like the only final thing left to show my parents how much I appreciated them. I needed to say, “Because of you, I made it.” 

But hearing my friends talk about their college savings funds gave me anxiety: I didn’t have one. How could I go to college with zero cents in my college fund? I’d have to get a job and who knows how long it would take to finish. But my parents were adamant. They didn’t want me to work, so they did, so I could focus on my studies. 

I knew I had to help. I compiled spreadsheets of information on the scholarships for which I’d already applied, was working on, or needed to apply. I crossed my fingers for a miracle to happen. And thankfully, it did. 

When I found out I was awarded the CPLC Scholarship, my dad was the most excited. “I knew you would get it,” he told me. My parents’ faith in me was unshakeable. 

But first, I needed to decide what I wanted to be, I’d need to decide what to study.  

So, since I love people, I love talking, and I love listening, I decided to major in communications.  

Four years later, I graduated. My parents were so proud. I even landed a job at a prestigious marketing agency with a generous salary and benefits. I had it all. 

Before long, however, I felt like something was missing. 

I thought back to my time volunteering in the community as a CPLC scholar. I had met so many people, built lifelong friendships, but most of all, I got to give back to the community—just like others had given to me. 

I felt a sense of purpose: like what I was doing was important and making an impact. 

What was missing at my shiny new job was the feeling that I got when I helped others. 

When I saw an ad for a job opening in the Marketing Department at Chicanos Por La Causa, I couldn’t believe it. I applied and got the job. I had come back home to Chicanos Por La Causa—this time as an employee. 

Here, I’m able to use my communication skills to amplify others’ voices. I get to help our programs share their message with our community, and I love being able to help someone in the comments section or our private messages find the answers they’re looking for when they visit our social media platforms. 

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to change the trajectory of my life and that of my family. 

For more information about the CPLC Scholarship Program, please visit https://cplc.org/education/scholarships.php. Donations to CPLC of up to $421 for individuals or $841 for couples filing jointly are eligible for the Arizona Qualifying Charitable Organization (QCO) Tax Credit. Learn more at https://cplc.org/donate/donate.php. 


Leslie Deras Fraijo 

Creative Administrator 

Chicanos Por La Causa Marketing 

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