OVERLAND, Mo. – An 8-year-old in the Ritenour School District has been invited to attend the National Young Scholar’s Program this summer.
It’s designed to provide a unique learning experience for bright, forward-thinking elementary school students, but it costs $3,000 to go.
Second-grader Sofia Ortiz-Trinidad is working to make her mom even more proud this Mother’s Day by working to raise the money herself.
“This year, my teacher nominated me for this National Young Scholars Program,” she said.
Sofia excels at math, science and social studies, but she doesn’t want her mom to worry about the cost of this exciting opportunity.
“As soon as she understood what tuition was, I guess it clicked in her brain like, okay, my mom doesn’t need to pay for this. I have to work for this,” Jazmin Ortiz-Trinidad, Sofia’s mom, said.
Jazmin describes her daughter as compassionate, while Sofia describes her mother as hard-working.
“She spends a lot of time with me and my brothers, feeding us and clothing us, and making sure we have a home,” Sofia said.
But several years ago, Sofia and her family were living in a homeless shelter.
“My husband and I, we got ourselves out the situation,” Jazmin said. “We have a car, we’re both employed, we have a home we made better for ourselves, for our children.”
In 2021, Jazmin was hospitalized with COVID-19 complications. She’s also lost a child during pregnancy. Sofia feels a deep sense of compassion for her mom over everything she’s been through.
“That goes to show that kids know more than what we believe they know,” Jazmin said.
Sofia’s goal is to raise $3,000 by the end of the month on a GoFundMe page she’s started in order to spend a week learning in Chicago.
“It would mean the world for us for her to get to go and raise this money on her own,” Jazmin said. “I know once she hits her goal, because she wants to speak it into existence, that she’s going to hit her goal.”
Before we sat down with Sofia on Sunday, she had already raised more than $650. She may be soft-spoken, but watching her doing cartwheels at King Park in Overland Park, it’s clear this ‘Girl is on Fire’ – and yes, she is a fan of Alicia Keys. The biggest lesson she’s learned from her role model:
“You can do hard things, and you don’t have to be so worried about if it’s hard or if it’s easy.”
Her mom went on to say she is very proud of everything that Sofia has accomplished.