Our 2021 Live Your Dream Winners!

Live Your Dream awards are given to women who are enrolled in or have been accepted into a BA or technical training program, are the heads of their households and have demonstrated a financial need. Winners may use the cash award to meet any needs that enable them to continue their education such as rent, car repairs, medical bills and food.

The 2021 Live Your Dream award winners are Pia Massaro, Claire Palazzo and Precious Steeves. Here are their stories:

Pia Massaro

Pia MassaroWhen Pia Massaro’s job was eliminated due to a business closure in 2019, she decided to take that as an opportunity to enroll in full-time classes at Cabrillo College and pursue a nursing career that would enable her to fully support herself and her two-year old son as well as give back to her community. 

“I want to be a nurse because I think that nursing would be a rewarding profession that would allow me to make a positive difference in people’s lives, challenge me, and also allow me the opportunity to provide for my family,” she wrote in her application essay.

Claire Palazzo

Claire PalazzoSimilarly, Claire Palazzo, a small business owner and mother of two children, left her small café business to pursue a new career in nursing that will enable her to financially support herself and her two children.  

During her previous career she often had no money and struggled to scrape by, which put her and her four-year-old and two-year-old children under significant stress. 

“Ultimately, my dream is to become an outstanding nurse, and I want to teach my children by example that they can reach any goal or make any dream come true,” she wrote in her essay. 

Precious Steeves

Precious Steeves Precious Steeves loves to learn and is studying business administration and computer science. She grew up without a father in her life and with a mother who suffered from severe illness since she was 22, which required her children to be her caregivers until she died.  

Weeks after her mother’s death, Steeves discovered she was pregnant and that led her to make the decision to pursue higher education so that she could fully support herself and her infant son.  

While taking classes, she works 50 hours a week in the cosmetology industry, and cares for her now two-year-old son. Her references praise her strong work ethic and quick learning ability for her academic success and continued commitment to earn a college degree.  

Moreover, through her classes she is continuing to discover more options in the business world that appeal to her quest for success.  

“All I’ve ever known is what it’s like to struggle and that’s not the life I want for my son,” she said. “I truly want to have another skillset under my belt and be able to thoroughly provide for him, it is my biggest goal in life,” she wrote in her essay.