Elmer made the conscious choice at a very young age to make education a priority in his life. He lost his father to liver cancer when he was 10 years old. With few friends, the family struggled financially and emotionally. Elmer found himself in the unexpected role of caregiver to his mother and older sister. The road to college has not been an easy one. His father had always taught him the importance of an education and he took this to heart earning a 4.0 GPA in a strong academic high school environment. He also immersed himself in becoming a leader as senior class president and years of serving as officers in clubs and volunteer organizations, earning over 200 hours of community serve his senior year. As he states “I dedicated myself to serving my community because I believe we must be good for the sake of being good… I believe in the strength of kindness.”

Elmer will pursue a pre-med and cognitive science education enters at U.C. Berkeley, fall 2014. He was admitted to the University of California at both Irvine and Davis, spring of 2013 but decided to start college at the College of the Canyons because his dream schools, shared by his father, had always been U.C.L.A. or U.C. Berkeley. His dream is now a reality! Along with a strong academic and volunteer commitment, Elmer is a gifted artist and enjoys photography and knitting, making gifts of knitted hats for a counselor going through chemo treatments for cancer.

“Learning Inspires Freedom Tomorrow is what has gotten me to where I am today. I learned that to make something of myself education was my only way to make a difference in my life… Learning is the only glimmer of hope for me to be free… Education opens up the minds of the learner, giving us freedom to think of infinite possibilities… the spirit of L.I.F.T. is not merely textbooks and learning, but something more virtuous in gravity… It is the human purpose to give to those around us, so that we may be better for it.”