One Good Turn Deserves Another

Kaefer Garcia, a senior at Rutgers–Newark, knows how hard immigrant life can be. Mom, an accountant who earned a college degree in her 40s, is from Colombia, and Dad is a truck driver from Honduras. “You see injustices every day,” says Garcia, born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and raised in Secaucus. So, he plans to become a prosecuting attorney. “I know I can’t change the world, but I’d like to change things wherever I can.”

As a recipient of the Todd M. Galante Esq. Scholarship—awarded to law school-bound undergraduates at Rutgers–Newark who maintain a 3.0 grade-point average—he’s on his way, filling out applications and preparing to take the LSAT. “This money really helps with that.”

Since 2003, Galante NCAS’83, a Newark-based bankruptcy attorney, has donated $1,000 a year to one student. Garcia says Galante not only gave him great advice, but also hooked him up, pro bono, with an attorney who specializes in nonprofit organizations. Last year, during an Honors College class on immigration, Garcia, a soccer enthusiast, scribbled the acronym “GOAL” in his notebook. It came to stand for Giving and Offering a Lifeline, a student club he cofounded that helps teenage refugee and immigrant students prepare for college.

I know I can’t change the world, but I’d like to change things wherever I can.

Kaefer Garcia, Rutgers–Newark senior

GOAL intends to raise money for three college scholarships this year—and become a nonprofit next year, when Garcia’s in law school. “A lawyer once told me, ‘You’re either the type that calms the waters or stirs the waters,’” Garcia says. “I’m the type who stirs the waters.”

(This story originally appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of Rutgers Magazine.)