Javier Morales, an Athens State University graduate in Behavioral Science, recently contacted Dr. Susan Owen, his advisor from his undergraduate days. Morales explained what her support in the past meant to him as he was building his success story.
“I wanted to take a minute to thank you for being so supportive, completing my degree came with many challenges such as health, distance from Oneonta, Alabama to Athens 2 or 3 times a week, financial and many other obstacles,” wrote Morales. “However the many times I was ready to give up, you somehow encouraged me to go on and complete my degree. You may do this with many students and may not remember me, however, I wanted to take the time to tell you thank you.” .
Morales is a native of San Antonio, Texas with over 20 years of experience working with migrant and seasonal farmworker families providing social services and guidance. .
Before Morales left Alabama, he wrote and was awarded several grants helping Hispanic students transition to college. The most recent award totaled $1.2 million earmarked to construct farmworker housing in Oneonta. .
Morales continued in his letter to Owen, “I have since moved to San Antonio, Texas and work for one of the Alamo Colleges as a Grant Writer. I have high respect and appreciation for what you did for me and that has motivated me to take the time to encourage students who have felt overwhelmed such as I did, and just as you did for me, remind them that all the sacrifices we make, have a reward at the end.” .
“One important lesson I learned from you was to listen, and allow the student to express all their emotions and then give them practical and realistic advice,” Morales added. .
Morales founded the Alabama Non-Profit Housing Agency Farmworker Housing First Complex in Oneonta, Alabama. He also created Project Aprende, an organization that offers services to at-risk Hispanic youth. He is currently in the Bilingual Education Master’s Degree Program at Texas A & M San Antonio.