“The people who work at Foster Care 2 Success were always there for me,” says San Francisco State University graduate Al Aparicio fondly, “When you grow up the way we did, it can be hard finding someone to trust. Some of us have lost a lot. Knowing Tina was there to talk to made it a lot better.” Aparicio and his younger siblings were removed from their mother’s care when he was in sixth grade and placed with an aunt who, he says, taught him “If you’re not going to do something right, don’t do it at all.” Although that advice has made it hard for him to accept failure, it also set Al on the path to his chosen career, and not an easy one at that. Luckily, he found a flyer about FC2S’s scholarship program and benefited from four years of financial support as he studied Community Public Health and Biology. “I didn’t have to worry about money and could focus on school,” he recalls.
Today, at 24, Al Aparicio is a Public Health Fellow for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is also working part-time in the office of the San Francisco Medical Examiner. He divides his time between looking for clues to public health outbreaks and looking for clues into the causes of death for San Franciscans. He is enthusiastic about both pursuits, saying his goal is to acquire as many skills as possible. “I find out that I get luckier the harder I work,” he claims.