John GardnerPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

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December 7, 2007
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Rifle woman earns scholarship for granddaughter

RIFLE - Words can be very powerful - powerful enough to move mountains and build bright futures.Teresa Ibarra-Ramirez's words are paving a new path for her 7-year-old granddaughter, Isidora."The hopes and dreams I have for my granddaughter is to break the family cycle. To give her a chance in life, an education she can use and most of all, self-respect and self-esteem," wrote 48-year-old Ibarra-Ramirez in an essay she entered in a contest for college scholarships by Colorado-based College Invest.Those are her words, and the meaning behind them reach higher than the Roan."That is my top priority for her," Ibarra-Ramirez said. "To provide her what I didn't have the opportunity to do. To hopefully break the cycle."And those words, written in an essay, have set the foundation of Isidora's education by securing a $5,000 college scholarship from College Invest, which sponsored an essay contest in which grandparents could win scholarships for their grandchildren.In the essay, Ibarra-Ramirez wrote: "My hopes and dreams for my granddaughter are for her to go to college and get a good education. To teach her that she deserves more out of life. To educate her so she does not need to continue the cycle of domestic abuse or experience the same pain as those before her."Ibarra-Ramirez speaks from experience.

The cycle of life follows a consistent pattern for Ibarra-Ramirez and her family. Ibarra-Ramirez was born when her mother was 17 years old. She then gave birth to her first child, a daughter, when she was 17 years old as well. An d 17 years later, she was graced with a beautiful granddaughter, Isidora.But that isn't where the similarities end.Ibarra-Ramirez had it rough after a divorce left her raising her three kids by herself."It was really a rough time," she said. "Working two jobs, going to school and raising three kids, it was a lot of work."But she prevailed and went on to get not only one degree, but two, in accounting and credit finance from Salt Lake Community College.She broke the cycle. However, it wasn't until after she had already been through an abusive relationship and the struggles of being a single parent. She had hoped that her daughter would follow in her footsteps to get an education, but sometimes children learn life's pitfalls on their own.Her daughter succumbed to drugs, and is out of the picture.Ibarra-Ramirez stepped up and is now a single parent again, raising two of her grandchildren."I'm all they have now," Ibarra-Ramirez said. "Their father is in prison and their mother, my daughter, is hooked on heroin."A tough spot for the kids to be in, but a grandmother like Ibarra-Ramirez was going to do everything in her power to provide her grandchildren with a loving home after her daughter lost custody of them.So, she took in three of her daughter's five children. The five have three different fathers."It's devastating, between what's going on with the family and everything," she said. "But, it's all about the kids."

The two kids who didn't live with live with Ibarra-Ramirez now live with their father, and just recently, 13-year-old Santana, one of the kids who had been living with her, went to live with his father in Washington."His dad called and wanted his son," Ibarra-Ramirez said. "(Santana) is his son, and if he wants to live with his dad, then it's OK. If it doesn't work out, he can always come live with me again."Raising two children and working full time is familiar terrain for Ibarra-Ramirez. But even traveling the road once before doesn't make it any easier of a trip."It's really difficult," she said. "I'm older, and it's a lot of work. But there is no other option for them, there is no other option for me."

A co-worker at Monahan Lampman & Hays, where Ibarra-Ramirez works, told her about the essay contest for grandparents to win scholarships for their grandchildren. The premise for the contest is for grandparents to answer one simple question: What are their hopes and dreams for their grandchildren?Ibarra-Ramirez thought it would be a good way for her to help Isidora.But it almost didn't happen."That's the funny thing," Ibarra-Ramirez said. "I forgot about it. But I remembered at the last minute and wrote the essay and sent it in."Ibarra-Ramirez said she sent the essay in the day before the deadline. And to her surprise, she was one of 10 entrants chosen from 623 grandparents who entered."I was really surprised," she admitted. "They called at home the end of October; at first I thought it was a scam."But it was not a scam."When I actually found out that I had won, I was like, 'No way," she said. "I was all excited."She wasn't the only one.Isidora was pretty excited about it, too."It was good," the petite Isidora said in her shy voice. "I told her thank you for doing this for me when she told me."Isidora plans on going to college. She will be able to use the money for tuition and expenses whenever she is ready. She doesn't know yet what she wants to be when she grows up, but there's plenty of time to decide that. For now she will learn some good life lessons from her grandmother whom she enjoys and appreciates so much that she was at a loss for words.When asked how much she appreciated her grandmother for doing this for her, her response was limited in her shy manner."A lot, a lot," Isidora mustered.Enough said.


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The Post Independent Updated Dec 9, 2007 12:43AM Published Dec 7, 2007 02:00AM Copyright 2007 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.