Jose Gamboa was born and raised in Catia La Mar, a small coastal town in Venezuela. He was active in politics in Venezuela, supporting the leader of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó. However, his involvement in politics and in LGBTQ activism placed him in danger, and he eventually sought asylum in the United States.

“The process was traumatic,” Jose says. “I came here alone. My mother is back in Venezuela, and my brother moved to Colombia.”

As an asylee in Florida, Jose worked long hours to support himself and his family back home. Funding his education was a daunting prospect.

“When you’re an asylum seeker, you don’t really have a status. You’re in legal limbo,” he says. Point was one of very few scholarships that accepted Jose’s application, and when he was awarded a Coach Dream it Real Community College Scholarship, his world changed. “It allowed me to focus on my classes, and it will allow me to graduate sooner.”

Jose recently graduated from Seminole State College and is working toward his dream career. “I want to work with organizations that have supranational influence to change international protections and policies for our (LGBTQ) community,” he says of his future plans. He is specifically motivated to protect trans lives from violence. “My brother is trans, so it hits home,” he says.

For Point’s next 20 years, Jose is eager to see more LGBTQ students like him at unique intersections of identities receive life-changing support. “The support for people like me, and for immigrants is such an important part of this work,” he says.

Learn more about Point’s Community College Scholarship Program here.

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