On a GoFundMe page Carmona created, she states that her mother broke her ankle in February 2020, leading her to be unable to work. From there, COVID-19 swept the United States, which according to Carmona, “added to the financial problems we already had.” According to Carmona, at the time of writing the fundraiser, her mother owed two months of rent and was facing eviction in March. Thus, the fundraiser was born.
Carmona, who says she was raised in a single-parent household, describes her love for science and medicine, and how she worked all through high school to supplement her education with extra programs and extracurriculars to learn more in order to pursue her dream. On her fundraising page, Carmona states that Barnard “will not be able to change” her financial aid package, hence her fundraising effort.
As reported by Good Morning America, Carmona hopes to be a neurosurgeon and will major in neuroscience and minor in Latin American studies. Carmona told the outlet Barnard offered her a $60,000 financial aid package, and she’s trying to meet the remaining cost of room and board. Some of the GoFundMe money will also go to supporting her mom, according to the teen.
At the time of writing this article, her GoFundMe has raised more than $115,000, over the original $75,000 goal. That’s excellent, but it’s a reminder that the cost of college in the United States is truly exorbitant. Barnard is a private school, so costs are obviously going to be higher. But in the big picture, we have to question what we’re asking of young people when they’re encouraged to attend college and take on debt. Especially when those young people are girls and women of color pursuing fields they’re underrepresented in.
Daily Kos has covered similar stories in the past. For example, the South Carolina principal who worked a second job at Walmart to provide for low-income students. Or the incarcerated folks in California who pooled their wages to donate to a scholarship for students in need. Or the Virginia pastors who used $17,000 of their budget to pay off school lunch debt. What do all of these stories have in common? People with big hearts doing great things. They deserve praise and thanks, without a doubt. But we all deserve to have systemic, structural change that doesn’t rely on the kindness of strangers.
You can check out a brief interview with Carmona below, courtesy of YouTube.