SNAP scholar shares her journey to achieving her dream

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“A million dreams have the power to transform and change a person’s life. But most of all, perseverance and determination count the most,” said Laisa Marie Barato, SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet’s Bridging Gaps in Higher Education through Tertiary Scholarships (BRIGHTS) scholar for three years.

This August, Laisa, an Ibaloi from sitio Leben, Ambuklao in Bokod will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Cordillera in Benguet.

Becoming a psychologist has always been her desired career path. “I’ve dreamed of being a mental health advocate. I believe that raising awareness about mental health issues will result in better relationships and a better society,” Laisa shared.

Determined to achieve her goal, her search for available scholarship grants led her to BRIGHTS. Laisa is grateful for the opportunities that SNAP has provided her throughout her journey. “BRIGHTS played a significant part in my college life. The scholarship helped me improve my academic performance and become a more active member of society. At the same time, my family was able to significantly reduce my educational expenses, thanks to the grant I received.”

The opportunity to contribute to society came early for Laisa due to the pandemic. With her knowledge of psychology, she helps her friends cope with mental health issues.

While she helps others with their mental health issues, she is not exempt from her own. “There have been many challenges, but this pandemic has been the most difficult. I was compelled to study virtually, which appears to be more difficult than actual learning [in a physical classroom]. I sometimes suffer mental breakdowns because of being overburdened with activity. My academic performance suffers, and I feel that I am learning very little.”

She drew strength from her most significant source of inspiration, her family, during these difficult times. “I’ve seen how much my parents sacrificed to meet our needs. They worked diligently every day of their lives, yet I never heard them complain about being exhausted.”

SNAP has also been a source of encouragement for her to pay it forward whenever she can, having been inspired by SNAP’s values through her participation in the company’s various corporate programs for the communities and the environment.  “SNAP honored our cultures and traditions and has taken the effort to assist young people in achieving a better future by providing scholarships. Their generosity has inspired me to help others and contribute to my community. I hope that one day I will also be able to help students achieve their goals.”

Laisa plans to take the Psychometrician Licensure Examination next year. While preparing for it, she plans to study for a Master’s degree in Psychology and look for jobs that will allow her to apply what she has learned.

BRIGHTS is a scholarship initiative under SNAP’s corporate social responsibility program. It targets deserving students with limited means from the company’s immediate host communities. Since its inception in 2018, 32 college scholars from Benguet province have received funding to help with tuition, school fees, and living or study expenses, while five scholars have received their college diplomas.

The virtual scholarship admission interviews for the school year 2021-2022 will begin on August 9, and SNAP-Benguet will welcome its new batch of BRIGHTS scholars later this month.

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