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Sep 21, 2023 MOST Staff

Inaugural M.O.S.T. Parent Ambassadors Cohort Transforms Gratitude Into Impact

This school year we launched our new Parent Ambassadors Program with a call for volunteers willing to represent us at community appearances, lend a hand at events, and spread the word about M.O.S.T.

Almost immediately, we heard from M.O.S.T. supermoms Andrea Abanto-Lopez, Leticia Mendoza, and Chinishe Ray. On October 2, Chinishe will join us at the 24th Annual M.O.S.T. Classic as the first official duty of a Parent Ambassador. Ahead of that debut, we had the chance to talk with Andrea and Leticia about their goals as ambassadors and why they’re committed to helping M.O.S.T. 

“I learned about M.O.S.T. while looking for schools that could meet my son’s needs. He’s a pandemic baby and is dealing with special circumstances because of his isolation from others,” said Andrea, a student at the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis, whose son Lucas will start school on a M.O.S.T. Scholarship next year.

“We were awarded the scholarship but he’s only three, so we decided not to enroll him this year. But my experience with M.O.S.T. has been so smooth and the team has been so helpful,” Andrea said. “I’m thankful that we could hold the scholarship until next year, and I wanted to give back because acting from a place of gratitude can take you a long way.”

Leticia Mendoza sits on the other end of the parenting timeline with two adult daughters, including Scarlett Gonzalez who graduated from St. Benedict at Auburndale Catholic High School on a M.O.S.T. Scholarship. Her youngest daughter Victoria Gonzalez, also a M.O.S.T. Scholar, is currently a sophomore at St. Agnes Academy, where Leticia works in the admissions department.

“I’m an immigrant from Mexico, and I know firsthand that M.O.S.T. opens doors, not just in the Latino community, but for any student who wants to attend private school,” said Leticia. “M.O.S.T. gave me the tools to help not just my family, but others. I want to help people in this community find the best education opportunities.”

Because she knows private schools through her work, the M.O.S.T. program as a parent, and the Latino community as an active member, Leticia sees an opportunity to help M.O.S.T. reach out to the growing Latino community in Memphis as donors.

“I was talking to a wealthy man in my community who has lived in Memphis for a long time. He’s getting older and is hoping to put his money to good use to help the community,” she said. “He said he was interested in something that helps kids have a better education. It was the perfect opportunity to tell him about M.O.S.T.”

As an early act as ambassador, Leticia will help translate M.O.S.T. marketing materials into Spanish. She points to her own kids’ growth as proof that the M.O.S.T. model can change communities and is eager to be a part of it.

“I see the difference that private school has made for Victoria,” she said. “She’ll ask me: ‘Mom, can I volunteer on this project at church?’ or ‘We have a new neighbor who’s struggling. Can I help them?’ When you help someone, they become grateful. Now it’s time for me to use my gratitude to M.O.S.T. to help others.”

Published by MOST Staff September 21, 2023