WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Jessieña Pando was introduced to Cafe Con Leche in 2018, and as a first-generation student, Pando said she was intimidated by the college process.
“I didn’t know anything about college. Neither did my parents,” the Wichita Falls High School senior explained, “so getting all this information the past couple of years has been really helpful for me.”
Pando said the community cafes helped her, and so many other students, understand the steps they need to take to get their degree.
Now as a mentor, her experience with the first virtual cafe was unconventional.
“Not really having that experience communicating and meeting with new people is kind of hard, but I understand we have to do what we have to do to get that information out there," she said.
The turnout of over 1,500 people not only surprised Gonzalo Robles, the founder of Cafe con Leche, but the representatives from Vernon College and Midwestern State University.
“I showed them the screenshot of the viewers saw it and everything else. They were so excited,” Robles said.
All participants can join the community cafe live on Facebook.
One lucky person will get the chance to win a $1,000 scholarship to MSU and another a $500 scholarship to Vernon College.
“They can watch it through their phones and it makes it ten times easier for them to get the information,” said Pando.
“It seemed like it’s going to be a larger audience this evening,” Robles added, “at least we’re hoping.”
But as an organization that stresses relationships, Robles said something is lacking in the virtual community cafe.
“It’s just that one on one relationship that you’re building with the student and families. That’s what I love about the cafes,” he said.
Robles said he will consider adding virtual cafes when he does get the chance to hold them in person again. He added the most important part of Cafe con Leche is making sure students are supported as they head toward higher education in Wichita Falls.
“By saying hey we’re here, this is a family ambiance,” he said, “if you send your child here to either institution if they want to be part of us, we can help you.”