Linda was born and raised in Paterson, in an apartment in the city center. Her father left when she was seven years old. She has two younger sisters.
She started in the Michael Wagner After-School program at the age of ten. She and her sisters needed a place to be after school, because her mother was working two jobs and wasn't home. She attended Carl's Kids Camp.
"I acted out a lot at that age," she says. She thinks now that it was because she missed her father. "Mr. Jim [Oasis Social Worker] helped me a lot back then. He helped me grow up."
"Even though my father was gone, at Oasis I had people around who I knew would help me. People here loved me, and I knew it.
Linda, 18 now, continues to be actively involved in Oasis programs. She has volunteered as an Oasis tutor after school and on Saturdays. She has carried out fundraisers at her high school and donated the returns to Oasis. She has worked as an Oasis summer camp counselor.
As a high school junior, Linda joined the Oasis College Readiness program. She was offered SAT courses and one-on-one college counseling. When she was struggling with biology, Oasis found her a tutor and she passed the course with an A-. When she took an AP course and couldn’t afford the $96 exam fee, Oasis found a donor to pay it. Oasis took her on college tours and helped her complete applications.
Linda was accepted to Seton Hall, Manhattan College, Monmouth University, the University of Connecticut, Ramapo College, and several others.
Linda has chosen Monmouth University, where she received a scholarship. She will start there in the fall.
It's not just
that Oasis helped her aspire to, prepare for, apply to, and now choose a
"Without Oasis, I would not even be on the path to college," she says. "Mr. Jim always said to me 'You are going to be a great leader. I can see it in you.' This makes me want to keep going. To make them proud."