The Lobatos Pay It Forward

From one sister, to a brother, to another. What goes around, comes around, says Jonathan Lobato, ’13.

What came around for this one family was the urge to pave a path of success beyond their own family to serve a community.

It all started with Erica. The first in the Lobato family to attend Colorado State University, Erica Lobato quickly found a place within a living and learning community called the Key Academic Community. The Key Community’s mission is to help incoming students seamlessly transition into college life. Erica was drawn to the program’s commitment to diversity, community involvement, and academic support and encouragement. It was a perfect match for her values around lifelong learning, helping others, and unconditional love for family.

Key creates foundation for family

It wasn’t long before Jonathan was following in his sister’s footsteps, enrolling at CSU and joining the Key Academic Community. "I believe that my experience with Key furnished me with the strong foundation to succeed at CSU. This support network became my campus family," says Jonathan.

When Jonathan was a sophomore, Matthew joined his brother and sister, transferring from Front Range Community College to CSU and also joining the Key Academic Community. The siblings were also roommates and, while many siblings would not fare well with this kind of living arrangement, the Lobatos loved it. "It was a blast," says Jonathan. "It was like living at home, but without our parents."

"The bond among the three of us is strong, and we are naturally close," says Erica. Matthew adds, "Blood makes you relatives, but loyalty, respect, and trust make you family."

“My parents always demonstrated the importance of hard work and giving back," says Jonathan. Their father would ask, "If you’re not helping other people around you, then what’s the point?”

Jonathan, ’13, Matthew Lobato, ’12, and Erica Lobato, ’09 with support from their parents, Deborah and Richard, founded the J.E.M.’s Scholarship in 2012.

The scholarship, an acronym for the siblings’ first names, focuses support to graduates of Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, Colo., (the Lobatos’ former high school) who will attend CSU and enroll in the Colorado State University Key Academic Community. "We all feel truly blessed and thankful for all of the opportunities that have come our way so far and want to help provide similar opportunities for those who don’t have the support, either financially or emotionally," says Erica.

The siblings are well on their way, pursuing careers and adventures. Whether in Denver (Jonathan), New York (Erica), or Texas (Matthew), they stayed connected as a family, as Rams, and to Colorado State University through the J.E.M.’s Scholarship.

The Lobatos hope to grow the scholarship so graduates of all Denver public high schools can access it.

Click here to support the J.E.M.'s Scholarship.