Before his dreams of becoming a firefighter can become a reality, Angel is exposing himself to the possibilities of higher education. His involvement with youth mentorship has shaped him into a student leader at UCLA. His passion for engaging the community has led him to run in this year’s student body elections for the office of the External Vice President. Angel is running with Fired Up!, a student slate that stands for integrity, accountability, and service to the community. Support Angel, the young beacon of hope from Santa Paula. Please stand with Angel Garfio by liking his facebook page and lend a hand to his election at Angel Fired UP Garfio.
Achieving the dream for Santa Paula
Angel Garfio was raised in Santa Paula, in the care of his grandmother, mother, brothers, and sister. His mother Marie “Bernie” Garfio taught him the value of giving back at a young age. This loving and supportive family environment made it possible for him to dream big. His small town upbringing has taught him to be forthright from the get-go. It also taught him never to shy away from hard work. But his big ambitions never outshined his small-town values. Through the community around him, Angel has learned the value of lending a hand.
By Marie Garfio
Growing up in Santa Paula also meant Angel was surrounded by the realities of a rural, working-class community. In the past three years alone, Santa Paula lost too many of our young men and women to senseless gang violence. In a small town with limited resources, options for the future can seem limiting. Angel cites the positive influences in his life as the reason why he ended up in higher education. Angel is now a second year at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he is pursuing a degree in History. But he recognizes that not everyone has a positive role model in their life. This has motivated him to work with youth to help make college a viable option. Angel currently serves as a coordinator, peer mentor, and tutor in American Indian Recruitment (AIR), an outreach project in the UCLA Student Initiated Outreach Center.
Never too far from his roots, Angel’s life ambition is to become a firefighter. He recalls a time when Santa Paula had no hospital for three years, and the majority of first responders were firefighters. During those years, his grandmother’s well-being relied heavily on the support of local firemen. Although Angel’s grandmother Magdalena “Nena” Pulido has since passed, she taught him to stay positive and believe in his ability to make a difference. This life lesson is what drives Angel.