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His drive to serve others has been a long journey

Stories & Case Studies
May 20, 2020

Timothy Maldonado, one of ATD’s two Harvey Lincoln Scholarship winners of 2020, is driven by a passion to be an advocate for those without a voice. His drive to serve others has been a long journey for Timothy, who grew up in poverty, with an emotionally absent mother and a physically abusive stepfather. He found his family in a gang.

“They accepted me, showed me love, and were there for me,” Timothy shared. “My destructive behavior elicited responses of praise and acceptance by my ‘family’, which I strived for. To be accepted was to be violent without remorse. My life was gang-centered, and as a result, I was expelled from high school.”

Into young adulthood, Timothy’s found himself in and out of incarceration.

Sparked interest leads to impactful leadership

Tim Maldonado

During his last incarceration, he participated in a substance abuse program that addressed his addiction and anger issues, sparking an interest in becoming an addiction counselor. Timothy enrolled at West Hills College Lemoore, an Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction, in California’s Central Valley. As a sociology major with a 3.66 GPA, Timothy is a leader in various student organizations, include the Male Initiative, which advocates for enhanced supports for men of color. In nominating him for the Harvey Lincoln Scholarship, Monica Respondek, Student Engagement and Equity Coordinator at West Hills, shared the impact that Timothy has had on his fellow students

“Tim is a remarkable student who demonstrates dedication, perseverance, and a tireless drive to serve others in need,” Respondek wrote in her letter of support. “I believe what makes Tim unlike any other student is his big heart. Tim’s passion for serving others and making a difference in his community definitely does not go unnoticed.”

Past enriches ability to be a positive influence

Outside of school, Timothy maintains focus on his goal of becoming an addiction counselor by serving as a volunteer facilitator of a substance abuse class at a local church. He is driven by a singular sense of purpose to serve as a role model for his son and granddaughter, and he believes that his experiences can positively inform his work with others.

“I have come to believe that my education will add depth to my life’s experiences while positively influencing others. I have a strong desire to reach out to the same population to show that it is possible to change. I want to help others to make sense of their struggles and not see them as barriers to growth.”

The Harvey Lincoln Scholarship honors the late husband of ATD Senior Vice President, Carol Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln, a volunteer at ATD’s annual DREAM Conference, was a strong advocate for low-income students and students of color. Created by Achieving the Dream in 2017, the scholarship provides financial support for students at ATD Network institutions who have persisted in their studies despite educational, personal, or financial obstacles. Students must be nominated by staff, faculty, or administrators from their college.

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