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Louis is Graduating!

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Make Your Own!

A gradfund forLouis Rivera

$1,305 given of $1,500 goal

Louis is Graduating!

Started by: Peter McConnell


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On May 16, 2020, Louis will complete the journey he embarked on sixteen years ago. The journey has been long and not without its challenges. He'll tell you it flew by. What he won't tell you is how hard and how persistently he has worked for more than a decade—sacrificing nights, weekends, holidays, sleep, food, and more in pursuit of his goal—through undergraduate, master's degree, and now his doctoral program. Never settling for less than his absolute best, he has thrown everything he has into his work. He has enjoyed the unwavering support of so many people: family, friends, colleagues, advisors, students, and the veterans he has faithfully served as a practicum student and intern. His dedication is not just to his degree or the accomplishment that comes with it. Everything he does is centered on the advancement of mental health and well-being. Louis is a credit to everyone who has supported him over the years, and a testament to what can be accomplished with dedication, persistence, and a true passion for helping others.

In celebration of his achievement, we (his family and friends) wish to fulfill Louis's long-cherished dream, and send him on a trip to the UK for the Wimbledon Championships. As you know, this won't be possible this year due to travel restrictions and pandemic protocols. However, we are still planning to make the trip when possible—most likely, in 2021.

If you would like to celebrate with him by making a gift, we invite you to do so through this fund which will be dedicated to his airfare, accommodations, and Wimbledon tickets. Thank you for everything you have done to support Louis over the years, and now at this final stage of his journey. We're so excited to share his achievement with you.

- Pete


Louis was born in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1985. He moved to mainland U.S. when he was seven, and has lived in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, until his recent move to Philadelphia last year. He has built a life to be proud of here: graduating from Liberty High School in 2004, and receiving a bachelor's degree from East Stroudsburg University in 2008; working with youth struggling with substance abuse and addiction at the Valley Youth House in Bethlehem; and finally making the decision to pursue a master's degree in counseling psychology—a decision that would lead him to his ultimate pursuit of a doctoral degree in psychology. He studied at Lehigh University for both degrees, excelling in the program and earning the admiration and universal respect of his peers and instructors. He is the first in any generation of his immediate family to obtain a doctoral degree.

Louis has put in three years of hard work and study at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia, serving across several units as practicum student and intern, and building a strong foundation for his career with the help and support of his colleagues and mentors there. His heart and soul are invested in the VA and the work of helping veterans through their mental health challenges to lead happier, healthier lives. He plans to dedicate his early career to the same goal. His dissertation—and the primary focus of his work—is on military sexual trauma, specifically addressing male veterans who experienced sexual assault during their terms of service.

Later this year, Louis will begin work as a full-time psychologist at the VA where he has spent the last three years, foregoing the traditional post-doctorate training period and joining the faculty. This is a huge step forward in his career, and an exciting opportunity that will secure his future in the VA system.

As you may know, one of Louis's greatest passions is tennis. Whether he's playing it or watching, it has been a source of joy and respite to him throughout his adult life. This year, we want to make his dream come true and send him to the most prestigious tennis championship in the world.

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21 Supporters

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  • Anne Lucas34 weeks ago
  • Eric and Amanda Stempo34 weeks ago
  • Marcia and Jeff34 weeks ago Congratulations, Louis. We are proud of you “son”! It was a long time coming. Best wishes for the future. Love, Marcia and Jeff
  • Joseph Farah34 weeks ago
  • Lidia Cordero34 weeks ago Best wishes.
  • Pierre Elchaar34 weeks ago I’m coming with you to Wimbledon! Haha Congrats 🎊
  • Victoria Cooper34 weeks ago I love you SO much! This was well earned and well deserved. Congratulations babes ❤
  • Jesus Cast35 weeks ago Best wishes. Congrats on your accomplishment. Hope you can make it to Wimbledon next year.
  • Brooke, Jeremy, and EJ35 weeks ago Congratulations! We are so proud of you. We love you and can't wait to celebrate with you!
  • James N Colon35 weeks ago
  • Show 11 more supporters