Jessica and Martha Medrano are two sisters who have a passion for serving their community.
Both are recipients of The George Foundation’s Bilingual Social Work Scholarship, which aims to increase the human capital pipeline of culturally and linguistically competent clinical professionals serving our community. As recipients, they commit to fulfilling high-level internships and employment with Fort Bend-serving organizations; but their dedication to helping their neighbors started even before they embarked on their careers.
Despite their father passing away at a young age, they feel blessed to have been raised by a hardworking single mother, along with a loving extended family. As second generation Mexican-Americans, their parents arrived in the US in the 1970’s in order to seek better opportunities for their children. Part of their youth was spent in Alief before the family relocated to the Mission Bend area of Fort Bend County. Jessica and Martha were both involved in the community during high school and extended their involvement in college. Their volunteer activities included the PALS program, which helps combat risky behaviors among youth, and Bo’s Place, which offers grief support services for children and families.
Jessica relayed how helping her grandfather during multiple hospitalizations when they were growing up led her to pursue a career in service. After attending Wharton County Junior College and completing her Bachelors at the University of Houston, Jessica enrolled in UH’s Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW). Meanwhile, younger sister Martha initially wanted to be a journalist but discovered that, rather than writing about problems in the community, she wanted to actually do something to fix them. She soon followed her sister’s path to the GCSW.
Jessica graduated from the GCSW program in 2014, after having completed field placements at Catholic Charities and Child Advocates of Fort Bend. Currently a clinician helping to counsel youth and adolescents at DePelchin Children’s Center, Jessica is married and lives in Stafford. She is proud to be the first in her family to obtain a degree and states, “After having to work full time to put myself through college as an undergrad, the scholarship enabled me to immerse myself in the program and learn to my full potential. I was able to study abroad in El Salvador and experience how social work empowers whole communities to improve living conditions.”
Meanwhile, Martha is still at the GCSW; she recently completed her first internship with Child Advocates of Fort Bend and chose Texas Children's Hospital’s West Campus in Katy for her advanced field practicum. She feels it will be a perfect fit for her goal of pursuing a medical social work career. “The scholarship helped open doors for me; it allowed me to build a professional network with faculty, students and professionals out in the community. I look forward to a study abroad opportunity in Cuba, and ultimately look forward to serving my home community.”
The George Foundation is pleased to support not only the scholars, but more broadly, to support the nonprofits the students intern and work at, and ultimately, to enhance access to bilingual social services for the diverse communities of Fort Bend County.