Jazmine Tavarez

Jazmine TavarezStruggling for her Family

Jazmine Tavarez, graduating with an A.A. from Queensborough Community College in 2011, has known adversity from an early age. Her family life was turbulent in Queens, where she was born, and in Brooklyn, where she was raised. She adjusted to two schools in her formative years (one in Ecuador) and graduated in 2001 from New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn, where she was a member of the Music Honor Society and secretary of the senior class.

On her own since she turned 18, Tavarez has struggled to support herself at various jobs, including as a leasing agent at Parkchester Real Estate in the Bronx. Her remarkable success there earned her a nickname, “Ambassador of Parkchester.”

When she began her studies at Queensborough in 2004 she learned she was pregnant with her first child. Health complications forced her to postpone her education, but as soon as she was able, she re-enrolled. Despite family responsibilities and her limited financial resources, she excelled in her studies. In 2009 she gave birth to her second child, a son who was diagnosed with autism.

Tavarez persevered to provide her family with a better life. Each morning she has dropped her daughter at school, returned to her East New York home to prepare her son for therapy, attended to the needs of her ailing grandmother and made it to Queensborough in time for her classes.

“At times it was hard for me to see past what I was going through, but because of my positive experiences at Queensborough and the great people I met, I no longer underestimate myself,” she says.

She plans to continue her studies at Queens College and then pursue a master’s degree in psychology at Hunter College. She aspires one day to become a psychotherapist.