Changing lives. That’s what Good Samaritan Community Services is doing for San Antonio’s Westside community, and Gerardo “Gerry” Flota can vouch firsthand.

Gerry, a graduate from Brackenridge High School (’10) is a product of the Good Samaritan Youth Development Program and a success story. He came back this past summer to give back to his community by serving as a youth specialist.

As a junior in high school, Gerry began volunteering at Good Samaritan in the afterschool youth development program. The program provides neighborhood youth the opportunity to develop academic and social skills through dynamic after school and summer enrichment programs.

Aside from the encouragement he received at home, the support and college-readiness resources available to him came in handy when applying for colleges. The SAT classes offered at Good Sam helped him prepare for the test.

“I took the SAT twice, scoring a 1920 the first time and a 1980 the second time. Although I wasn’t too happy because I didn’t reach my goal of nothing below a 2000, it was the highest score for my graduating class at Brackenridge,” Gerry said.

Gerry’s persistence paid off because he and fellow student, Laura Cardenas, were both presented with the Helen and Everett Jones Scholar’s Award. The scholarship award is presented to students who demonstrate exceptional leadership and service to Good Samaritan, their school, and their community.

Gerry didn’t even know he was receiving the award. Both he and Laura were invited to participate in the formation of the scholarship guidelines by Executive Director Jill Oettinger, and to his surprise, he was selected as one of the first recipients of the newly created scholarship.

“We thought we were just helping them but they surprised us and started the scholarship with us [in mind],” Gerry said, reflecting on his experience, “They saw that I had potential and believed that I could do great for myself.”

The Jones Scholar’s Award is providing a weekly stipend of $100 to cover non-tuition expenses, including food, clothing, and books. Gerry is starting his sophomore year at Notre Dame University where he is majoring in architecture. He plans to return to assist with next summer’s programs at Good Samaritan Community Services.

This past May, two Lanier graduates, Adriana Cardenas and Fatima Hernandez, were presented with the scholars’ award.

To learn more about the services provided at Good Samaritan Community Services, click here for their web site.

To read more about Adriana and Fatima’s award presentation, click the News and Events.