Volunteer?s Story Leads to Life Lessons

When Tanya Gonzalez was 17 years old, her father died unexpectedly. Not long after her father's death, Gonzalez began working as a janitor to pay off her high school tuition for the private school she attended. And to make it [Goldman Sachs logo] <http://www.goldmansachs.com/> through both her undergrad and graduate education, she took what she calls the "non-traditional route" working full time to pay her way while raising her two children.

After college, Gonzalez went on to work at Goldman Sachs as a facilities coordinator, and is now a property manager at Jones Lang LaSalle in Chicago. For the past 15 years, she has been a JA volunteer where she happily shares her inspirational story. Gonzalez first started as a classroom volunteer while at Goldman Sachs and taught elementary students. Now she likes doing JA in a Day and spending lunch time with students.

"I like to tell my JA students about my non-traditional path through education and discourage them from taking that road if they can," Gonzalez said. "Even though there are obstacles--personal or not--we need to stay positive. We can overcome any barrier if we have the enthusiasm and dedication. I don?t encourage my kind of journey, but no matter what, you have to always remember the walk is as challenging as you make it."

She said in overcoming her own difficulties, she had the willingness to "continue life and do what my father would have wanted me to do--and that is to succeed."

"The children keep me coming back every year. And I like the chance to at least reach one of them and give them some kind of positive reinforcement and encouragement."

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