May 30, 2017
Area(s) of Interest: Obstetrics and Gynecology Physician Leadership
|Name: || Guillermo Valenzuela, M.D. |
|City: || Colton |
|Specialty: || Ob-Gyn |
|Member Since || 1984 |
As the son of working class parents in Chile, Guillermo Valenzuela, M.D., learned first-hand about determination and surmounting adversity to secure his dreams. He overcame many economic obstacles to achieve his goal of becoming successful ob-gyn and a leader in the Inland Empire’s medical community.
Thinking about his disadvantage past inspired him to create a program for elementary school children to encourage them to think and write about their futures as college graduates. He created the Technology Encouraging College Hopes (TECH) scholarship program that provides free laptops to Riverside County students to help them achieve success in college and beyond.
Dr. Valenzuela established the program in response to past studies that showed less than a third of Inland Empire ninth-graders will attend a college within four years, and that vital technology skills lag for students who don’t have a computer at home.
This year’s program kicked off in March with students at three Riverside elementary schools.
Eighteen students – one child per grade level at each of the schools – were asked to write about their dreams for a college education. “Your imagination fuels your dreams,” said Dr. Valenzuela. He has given more than 200 laptops to these students over the past decade.
One thing that helped him set goals, he said, was a family friend who would ask him, ‘what are you going to do when you grow up?' "These are kids that don’t have computers,” he said. “They are economically challenged.” But, he says, once you set a child on a journey towards a dream, they get inspired.
“I know that many students face the same kinds of obstacles that I once had to overcome,” said Dr. Valenzuela. “My hope is that my story and my scholarship program will show them they can overcome any hurdle to secure a college education.”
The scholarship program, which began in 2008, has inspired more than 4,000 students to write and create artwork about their dreams.
On May 1, the Riverside Unified School District Board of Education honored Dr. Valenzuela with a proclamation celebrating the 10th anniversary of his TECH program and thanking him for his ongoing support of local schools and education. Dr. Valenzuela has been a member of the California Medical Association and the San Bernardino County Medical Society for 33 years,
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