When Bardo Rubio completed his commitment to the U.S. Army, he enlisted in the Army Reserve. He knew he would need to do more than work one weekend a month to achieve his life goals.
During the summer of 2018, shortly after he returned from active duty, Rubio encountered two Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement employees promoting the agency’s services at South Texas College. Rubio, who wanted to go to college but worried about his limited financial resources, listened as they explained what VIDA provides. This includes financial assistance, counseling and other support services for underemployed and unemployed individuals who want to improve their lives through college certifications or degrees. They encouraged him to apply.
“I did and got accepted,” Rubio said, “and I am very thankful for that.”
Rubio is now at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, majoring in social work and minoring in military science.
“My short-term goal is to graduate in the fall of 2021 or the spring of 2022 with a bachelor’s, and I am close,” Rubio said. “I will continue with my MA and PhD.”
Growing and Inspiring
Because of VIDA’s help with tuition and books, Rubio said he has plenty of time to study.
“I am learning new things, working on my patience, and getting mature in life subjects,” Rubio said. He has also developed a life philosophy, inspired by his drill sergeant, Staff Sergeant Peto. Peto told all of her new recruits, “Understand how your state of mind can influence your everyday decisions, actions, and attitude.”
“She really inspired me,” Rubio said, “and she not only said it, but, more importantly, her actions were louder than her words. She was a really tough and humble woman, so I rule my life by her philosophy. I am humble, and I work hard every day to achieve my dreams.”
Rubio said when others ask him for advice, he shares Peto’s words with them.
While VIDA’s financial assistance has been critical, the agency’s wraparound approach has proven to be just as important.
“It really has helped me feel secure,” Rubio said. “It has boosted my self-esteem and has helped me realize I am not alone in this path toward success.”