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Friday, August 18, 2017

Student Spotlight: Salvador Terrones

Sal Terrones
If someone had told him in high school he would be attending San Diego State University, he would not have believed them.

As a ninth grader, Salvador Terrones was too focused on finding a way to get out of the Preuss School at UC San Diego. He wanted to go to high school in his community, where according to him, he would be more likely to “affiliate with the wrong crowds and get in trouble…(not) graduate from high school.”

But Flores made it through and is now at San Diego State University pursuing an interdisciplinary studies degree with an emphasis in Counseling and Social Change, Social Work and Leadership.

“I have been able to overcome (or am in the process of overcoming) every life challenge that has come my way simply by remembering the adversities that constantly attempt to define me and my aspirations,” said Flores, who grew up in the San Diego County foster care system and is a first-generation college student.

Each adversity Terrones encountered has propelled him to continue moving forward and to give a helping hand to those experiencing some of the same challenges he has lived through.

As a sophomore, Terrones was invited to participate in Helping Homeless for the Holidays, an annual event through which SDSU students canvass the streets in downtown San Diego to provide warm food to the homeless.

Terrones was so inspired by the experience that the following year, he led a group of individuals to do a similar event.

“For many, the holiday season means family gatherings and warm meals,” said Terrones, who is a Guardian Scholar. The SDSU Guardian Scholars Program supports students who are emancipated foster youth, former dependents and wards of the court or unaccompanied homeless youth by providing comprehensive services to help them graduate from college.

“For others, it means sleeping alone in the streets with low-levels of food and unfit hygiene,” he said.

Terrones’ solution?

For two weeks, he reached out to fellow SDSU students, friends and family and was able to gather and distribute the following among the local homeless population:

  • 30 plus fleece blankets
  • 20 plus boxes of pizza
  • 11 dozen tamales
  • 10 cases of water

“I have gone through adversities that continue to allow me to grow into the young adult I am today,” Terrones wrote from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where he studied last spring semester. “I am comfortable to say that each challenge life has thrown my way has inspired me to help others.”

Terrones said he hopes that more SDSU students, organizations, and staff continue to participate in future events.

“As a community we often forget two important things— there is power in numbers and we need not to seek externally to make change for the greater good, but simply search internally,” he said. “I took it upon myself to find like-minded individuals who also wanted to positively impact the lives of others and ran with my idea. I challenge everyone to step out of their comfort zone and find the inner-leader within themselves to make a change in a community.”

What will Terrones be doing in the future?

He hope to continue motivating and inspiring future student leaders to get involved. Terrones said he will be leading SDSU’s Guardian Scholar Student Advisory Board and plans to continue offering support to current and former foster youth, homeless youth, wards of the courts, low-income students, and first-generation students, as well as international students.

“If it wasn’t for the opportunity to study abroad, I don’t think I would have ever grown the level of respect for exchange students,” said Terrones, who also took the opportunity to thank his professors and SDSU staff for the support and motivation they have given him.

“I don’t think I would have ever considered tackling on an event such as feeding the homeless if it wasn’t for professors such as Dr. Tanis Starck,” said Terrones. “Dr. Starck’s authenticity in class has inspired and motivated me to really dive into and attempt to understand and advocate for the different communities and cultures that I find myself surrounded by every day.”