Personal life experiences often shape the path we take for our future. As a military spouse, Sylvia Lemus had access to resources to help her through hard times and witnessed situations where these resources fell short for military families. Seeing her community struggle, Sylvia decided to pursue a career as a Social Worker, knowing she would be able to give back and change people’s lives.  

“Being a military spouse gave me insight into what service members, veterans, and their families experience constantly,” said Sylvia. “I noticed there was a big gap where families didn’t receive services due to various reasons. I was motivated to attain higher education so I could become an agent of social justice for my community.”

Social Workers play a significant role in assisting the military community with physical and emotional wellness. Helping families through times of uncertainty during service and navigating the role of caretakers after service, Social Workers help build the resiliency needed to adapt and push through difficult situations. 

“I chose to become a Social Worker to help military families that are experiencing challenges with mental health,” said Sylvia. “I want to give back to the community that once helped me overcome challenges. As a military wife, I was fortunate to receive services from Social Workers that helped address my issues. This inspired me to become a service provider to help others.”

HOPE recognizes that spouses and caretakers of post-9/11 veterans sacrifice and serve in their own ways. To honor their service, HOPE helps these individuals meet their goals and pursue their dreams by awarding scholarships to provide aid in continuing education. HOPE was honored to present Sylvia with the “Restoring HOPE” scholarship in the Fall of 2021, a scholarship awarded to Masters of Social Work students. 

“Receiving this scholarship has impacted my educational goals tremendously,” said Sylvia. “It has not just helped me, but it helped reduce the financial burden on my family. Having the opportunity to receive this amazing scholarship has motivated me to continue to learn new specializations that will help me assist individuals and families that are struggling with mental health challenges.”

Since the program’s inception in 2006, HOPE has granted over 183 Military Spouse and Caregiver Scholarships. This is just one of the many ways that we show our appreciation to these individuals for their strength and fidelity as they take on new and critical roles after experiencing the impact of service on their families.

With Sylvia’s post-graduation goal of working with families in a clinical setting, and specializing in substance abuse treatment, trauma, and grief, HOPE is excited to support her as she starts this new chapter in life. We cannot wait to watch her succeed, even when challenges present themselves! 

“My advice to everyone is to never give up on any dreams or goals you may have,” Sylvia said. “As caregivers and military spouses, we are all resilient and look for support from others because sometimes it takes support from our community to reach those goals.”

For more information on the Military Spouse and Caregiver Scholarship Program, click here