For Belma Mendez, running the Boston Marathon is going to be a dream come true. Mendez immigrated to the United States from Ecuador in 1993. After a divorce and becoming a single mother, she was on the cusp of the hardest time of her life; alone in a country with no family or relatives to count on. With little command of the English language and no ability to drive, her options were limited. Soon she'd lost her job and her apartment unexpectedly.
Mendez began running to release her anguish. "Running gave me the strength and clarity to put my thoughts together." It was on a run that Mendez determined that to move forward in her new country, she needed a training certificate or degree. That decision led her to enroll at Roxbury Community College (RCC) in Fall 2002, to take English classes. In an assignment, Mendez was asked to write a paper about a hobby. She researched running a marathon and wrote the paper on marathon running, "I learned so much about marathon running. I have been dreaming about running the Boston Marathon, ever since. The marathon in the city I love!"
In 2003, Mendez took on a work-study role in RCC's Enrollment Department. Later that year, she also took a work study assignment with IT, where she was hired for a temporary role. From IT, Mendez moved on to Institutional Research before landing in her current position in Human Resources, in 2011. Since her enrollment, Mendez has been a consistent contributor to the success of the College.
Imagine Mendez's surprise when the Director of Development, Alumni, and Foundation Affairs informed her that the Roxbury Community College Foundation was selected as an Official Charity of the Boston Marathon! As someone who has long supported the advancement of the college, she was the first to volunteer to run as a member of the Roxbury Community College Foundation Marathon Team. Mendez says, "I wasn't just volunteering because I love to run, but also to support and give back to the college that has given me so much. I owe much to who I am today to RCC. I came here to take an English class, but ended up getting an Associate degree! I was able to transfer to UMass Boston, graduate with a Bachelor's in 2014, and establish a successful career."
The Roxbury Community College Foundation (RCCF) provides support to RCC's programs and projects including The Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center and Media Arts Center. Additionally, the Foundation has assisted students, like Mendez, who do not qualify for financial aid with scholarships to bridge the cost of their school expenses. To support Belma Mendez or the RCCF's Boston Marathon team, click here.