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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Mexican Consulate in San Diego opens applications for immigrant essay contest

Despite fundraising setbacks due to the coronavirus pandemic, the consulate intends to award at least 70 applicants with $1,000 grants, organizers said.
Credit: KFMB

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Applications are now open for the ColibriMX scholarship program, a local essay contest set to award immigrant college students with grants for the fall 2020 semester, organizers announced Tuesday.

The Mexican Consulate in San Diego, in partnership with the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee, launched the ColibriMX scholarship in December to promote higher education for Latino immigrants in San Diego County. Despite fundraising setbacks due to the coronavirus pandemic, the consulate intends to award at least 70 applicants with $1,000 grants, organizers said.

"We believe in the power of education as the best tool for social mobility," Consulate General Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez said. "And we also believe that it is in the interest of the whole community to make sure its youth has access to higher education. Our hope is that ColibriMX serves as a way to tell young Mexican American and Latino students in the area of San Diego: We support you, we have your back."

ColibriMX follows the model of similar consulate programs in Austin, Texas and Sacramento: MEXAustin and CienAmigos, according to Gonzalez Gutierrez. Each program, through community fundraising, encourages applicants to complete their college education and provides students with a "community stamp of approval," he said.

The namesake of the San Diego program, colibri, means hummingbird, a migratory bird that crosses the United States and Mexico border annually. Organizers said the colibri symbolizes the virtues of immigrant families seeking a better future: hope, perseverance and personal strength.

Prior to fundraising, ColibriMX has $36,000 of seed money from the Institute of Mexicans Abroad and intends to raise at least $34,000 in order to reach its goal of awarding 70 grants. Gonzalez Gutierrez admitted that fundraising will be challenging with this being the program's first year and amid the ongoing conoravirus pandemic, but he believes ColibriMX will connect Mexican and Latino immigrants across San Diego County in a common cause.

"If we don't help ourselves, no one else will," Gonzalez Gutierrez said.

Those interested in participating in the contest can apply at www.maacproject.org/ColibriMX/. The subject of the 600-word essay is either how the applicant has contributed to their community or how the applicant overcame an educational barrier.

Applicants must be first-time college students from San Diego, have a 2.5 GPA or above, be a Latino immigrant or child of a Latino immigrant and demonstrate financial need, according to the ColibriMX website. The deadline for the 600-word essay contest is July 8. 

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