Peer Leader Stories

Coach to Counselor

Luz, CounselorWhat was your own journey to and through college like? 

Choosing a college was really stressful. I didn’t have any help from my family or my mom. She still doesn’t really understand what college is or what it means to go. There were a lot of challenges with FAFSA verification because of the way my family filed taxes, and I had to figure it all out on my own. I wanted to go to school outside of NYC and the five boroughs, but then I got pregnant, so I knew I needed to be close to home.

I started at BMCC and then I finished undergrad at Queen’s College last semester. I think my love of learning helped me get through, and all the negativity I was hearing after I had a baby. People were telling me that I couldn’t do it and my life was ruined, but I turned all that around and used it as motivation. My daughter needs a role model, and I can be that person for her if I do what I need to… Read more of Luz Espinbarro’s story. 

Read more stories


PERSONAL STATEMENT is a feature-length documentary film that showcases the challenges that young people face who are the first in their family to attend college - and the remarkable potential of peer leadership to address those challenges.

To learn more about PERSONAL STATEMENT, you can visit the film’s website at

If you are interested in bringing the full length film to your school or community, you can learn more about how to do so through Good Docs. 

The following short video, “Youth Leaders in Action,” features the three main characters of the film at work in their own communities, and demonstrates the power of CARA’s peer-to-peer model.