Scholars Profile: Josue Pineda 

February 22, 2019

Josue Pineda is a 21 years old student at Fullerton College in California studying Psychology and Political Science.  He has been in recovery since September 2017, and has since received two scholarships for the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters.

For many of our Ammon Recovery Scholars, the scholarship goes directly to tuition.  For Josue, however, it has covered his housing expenses. “This scholarship has helped me maintain my current housing. Without this, I would be back to being homeless since housing has been one of the greatest difficulties I’ve come across, ” he explains. Although Josue works part-time, his income does not cover all expenses.

During Josue’s adolescence, he encountered many traumas, including being raised in an abusive and violent environment.  He used alcohol and marijuana as coping mechanisms to numb his emotions. The instability of home and his environment caused him to become self-destructive.  Eventually, his behavior led to incarceration. Josue says that he “hit rock bottom” and had to make a decision to “remain there or re-evaluate my life.” He decided to rebuild all aspects of his life.  He moved out of his toxic environment, secured help and began working. He also enrolled in school. He didn’t stop there. Josue became involved in community service, several clubs on campus, and changed his diet. He states, “Sobriety has been a choice I am 100% content with making because I realize that substance abuse has hindered me many times in my life from advancing and understanding myself.”  It hasn’t been easy. He wasn’t able to count on the support of his family and was homeless for a while.

Josue’s life today looks much different than his life looked during his adolescent years.  He writes, “Since receiving this scholarship, I have reached a year of sobriety. Academically, I am doing quite well in all my classes as well as getting along with all my professors, and I’ve been actively involved in therapy to maintain sobriety and stable mental health. I have maintained nothing short of a B for my current classes. On top of doing well in my classes, I am also the President of Students for Equitable sustainability, a club which focuses on the current sustainability movement and the intersectionality of inequity for marginalized groups of people, Vice President of Psychology club, and a member of the Student Equity committee on campus.”  Josue lives in sober housing.

Josue’s future is unknown to him.   He says he has no specific career path in mind.  However, Josue loves studying psychology, as well as fighting for social injustices.  He feels that his lived experience and knowledge puts him in a position to help “people who are struggling through similar adversities.” He believes college provides the perfect platform to allow him to accomplish just that.

Yet Josue still stresses over his financial situation.  He says, “Despite all the good that may be going on in my life, the financial instability I am facing, as well as lack of support is something I continuously stress over, and sometimes I feel as if I have to choose with finding a means of making ends meet or continuing to pursue my academic career.”   For Josue, the Ammon Scholarship has granted him the opportunity to continue his academic journey, while giving him the support for housing.

The Foundation subscribes to the philosophy that in order for those in recovery to thrive, they must be supported by four pillars which consist of continued education, safe housing, stable employment, and adequate healthcare. When individuals in recovery are holistically supported to build purposeful lives, the likelihood of them maintaining their recovery substantially increases.

Our blog features the profiles of other recipients of the scholarship award, as well as information about how to apply.