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Daniela Ojeda is one of three HOLA students who were awarded full scholarships to the LEAP Foundation’s week-long leadership program held during the summer on the campus of UCLA. She started coming to HOLA at the beginning of her junior year as a shy, reserved young woman. Talking to her today, that’s hard to believe. She is now confident and poised, ready to take on the world. She credits HOLA and the LEAP leadership program for the transformation. Towards the end of last year, she started to think about what she wanted to do over the summer and started to discuss ideas with HOLA’s College Counselor – Laura Greenlee. After Daniela expressed an interest in improving her leadership skills, Laura immediately suggested the LEAP program . She submitted her application and then waited, and waited, and waited a little more. Finally, to her amazement and sheer delight, she was admitted and given a full scholarship.

At the end of July, Daniela started the week-long camp. In her words, “[I]t changed my life!” She met lots of other teenagers from all over the world from very diverse backgrounds. The positive messages resonated with her, including how important it is to love yourself and to surround yourself with positive people.  She is so grateful for the experience and came home with a much greater appreciation for her family. Daniela is busy applying to a number of colleges, but her first choice is UC Irvine.

After the students returned home, HOLA received the following email from the LEAP Program Director:

“Each year, I sift through hundreds of applications in an attempt to select the ‘right’ students for our LEAP Scholarships. Many of the applicants are 4.0 students, with multiple internships, & are presidents of school clubs and organizations… they look great on paper. However, the single characteristic I look for in our scholarship recipients is “Will this ‘kid’ make the most out of the opportunity set before him/her?” For the three students representing HOLA, I can say that they have.”


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