“Being a Cumbres scholar, without a doubt, has been one of the most rewarding, unforgettable, and positive experiences of my life,” says Nancy Wendirad ’05. “I choose to support Cumbres because this wonderful scholarship program did so much for me.”

And that’s what #BearTuesday is all about! This annual day of giving is your opportunity to support a campus cause that’s close to your heart. For Nancy Wendirad, that cause is the Cumbres Teacher Preparation Program.

“I know in my heart that Cumbres gave me confidence, peace of mind, as well as monetary and emotional support to pursue my dream, to get my college degree and become a teacher. As an individual, I strongly believe in paying it forward. Serving as a mentor and giving a monetary contribution to Cumbres is my way of thanking this awesome organization,” says Wendirad.

Cumbres is a unique co-curricular program that supports education majors who are committed to completing an endorsement in ESL (English as a Second Language) and serving students in K-12 schools whose first language is not English. 

“Cumbres played a vital role during my collegiate experience at UNC,” says Iris Fernandez ’14. “Working closely with peers that had similar backgrounds and career goals was very encouraging. For many of us, Cumbres became a support group.”

“Cumbres provides a sense of belonging,” Program Coordinator Penny Mascarenas says. “We really want students to feel like they’re wanted here, they belong here, and they can be themselves. We have lifelong friendships that developed here, as well as students who ran a high risk of leaving school if they didn’t have these support systems in place.”

The program offers scholarships of $750/semester to eligible students while also providing valuable support through a learning and living community that focuses on leadership and mentorship.

“$750 doesn’t sound like much, but when you multiply it over 8 or 9 semesters it’s a pretty good chunk of money,” Mascarenas says.

Currently, 54% of the participants in Cumbres identify as Latino/a, and 59% are first-generation students. In Fall 2017 the Cumbres program welcomed 41 new members, the largest cohort in the history of the Cumbres program. 

“In Fall 2018 we actually hit our cap to distribute scholarships, so we had to close the application a little sooner than we normally would have, because we just ran out of money,” Mascarenas says.

That’s why your support is critical now, more than ever. 

“Everything that we raise privately goes directly to scholarships. All of our operating costs or any outside costs come from the university. Literally everything we raise privately goes right back to the students,” Mascarenas says.

“Without the support of generous donors, we would not be able to offer an incentive to recruit and train future ESL teachers to enter their careers with confidence and competence,” says Aldo Romero, Director of Cumbres. “With your support on Bear Tuesday, we can provide even more opportunities to enable future educators to nurture their passion and graduate with the skills required to serve all students." 

All donations directed to Cumbres on #BearTuesday will fund scholarships so that Cumbres students can continue their studies at UNC and prepare to be compassionate and qualified teacher candidates who are ready and able to teach linguistically and culturally diverse students throughout Colorado and beyond.

Join UNC on November 27, 2018 for this annual day of giving and support a campus cause that’s close to your heart. From scholarships and campus resources to student trips and study abroad, Bear Tuesday is your opportunity to support the smart talented and motivated students at UNC.

Learn more about #BearTuesday and ways you can help a fellow Bear!