Scholarship Finalist: Alyssa Luis

As I was growing up, it wasn’t unusual to hear my mom up late at night pounding on the keys of her calculator with a check book in front of her. Being a single parent didn’t make paying the bills easy. While I never went without, I did know how hard my mom had to work to make ends meet. She often worked two or three jobs and I knew that I had to do well in school so that I could get a scholarship to attend college. Attending college was never an option, but a definite, and the only obstacle standing in my way was money.

Our lives changed when I was in high school. My mom changed her usual hobby of going to garage sales on Saturday morning, a great way to get items that we couldn’t otherwise afford, and made this hobby into a business. She began to buy children’s toys at garage sales and would take them home and fix them up. Once spiffed, she would place the toys in an ad on eBay and would sell them for a profit. The saying one person’s trash is another person’s treasure is a fact in our house. Before we knew it, the small business of Lisa’s Collections was born right out of the spare bedroom in our house.

Soon, hearing my mom up late on the calculator was just a distant memory. This business in no way made us the next Rockefellers, but bills were able to get paid and the constant tension in my mother’s shoulders was relieved. It wasn’t long before I realized that this business could be a life changer for me as well. I knew that I could also become self-sufficient. I began working with her and selling my own garage sale finds. This kind of money allowed me to pay for normal high school expenses like a car and social outings, which furthermore, helped relieve my mom of financial distress.

Soon, hearing my mom up late on the calculator was just a distant memory. This business in no way made us the next Rockefellers, but bills were able to get paid and the constant tension in my mother’s shoulders was relieved. It wasn’t long before I realized that this business could be a life changer for me as well. I knew that I could also become self-sufficient. I began working with her and selling my own garage sale finds. This kind of money allowed me to pay for normal high school expenses like a car and social outings, which furthermore, helped relieve my mom of financial distress.

This small business taught me valuable skills that are pertinent in any career like being organized, how to communicate with the general public, and how to be a self-starter. These skills transferred well into my position as
a volunteer in the Family Friend program at Arnold Palmer Hospital for children, where I was expected to help families with supplies or in any way that I could. It helped as an Undergraduate Teaching assistant, where I was
expected to teach material to students and grade their discussion questions. It helps me now as a teacher, where communication and organization is vital. However, the most valuable lesson that being a part of a small business taught me is that small business offer opportunity. Through small businesses, everyone has the opportunity to achieve their dreams.

This essay was written by Alyssa Luis, 1 of 10 finalists for the SuretyBonds.com Small Business Success Student Scholarship Program. Alyssa and the other finalists were selected from more than 1300 applications reviewed by the SuretyBonds.com Scholarship Committee. Three of the finalists will win a $1,500 scholarship to be used toward furthering their education. To vote for Alyssa or any of the other finalists, visit the SuretyBonds.com Small Business Success Student Scholarship voting app on Facebook.

About the Author

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