OJAI, Calif. - A Honduras orphan is getting a chance at an American education thanks to an Ojai family.
Gabriel Ruiz is a 16-year old Honduran orphan. He has lived on the streets and in and out of orphanages since his family abandoned him when he was five years old.
Despite everything Gabe has been through he has an extremely positive attitude and dreams of one day helping those in a similar situation.
“I would like to get to be in a very good university. So I could learn medicine and after that I could be a doctor and help others,” said Gabriel Ruiz, “Because when I was in the streets and lost other people came and helped me. They had no reason too but they did,”
Gabe’s charismatic charm, and passion to live life to the fullest is what attracted the Rhoades family to him when they first visited an orphanage in Roatan, Honduras two years ago.
“We were just really impressed with Gabriel. He was just a really neat kid,” said Heidi Rhoades.
Unable to keep Gabe off their mind Heidi, Larry, and their teenage son Nate decided to visit Gabe again the following year. That’s when they decided to help make Gabe’s dreams come true. The Rhoades family invited him to live with them in Ojai so he can pursue his dreams of getting an American education and becoming a doctor.
“First of all we had to find a school that would accept him, and because he lived in another country he would have to come over on an international student visa. Most public schools do not offer that so we had to find a private school that would accept him,” said Heidi Rhoades.
Oak Grove School in Ojai accepted Gabe. He will start school in the Fall as an international student in ninth grade. The Rhoades family is thrilled Gabe has been given this opportunity, and have started a GoFundMe to help rally support to pay for Gabe’s international student tuition and visa expenses.