Twins Linda and Tobias Arreaola, 17, grew up hopping from trailer to trailer, mostly on Carson City’s Tiger Drive.
“Growing up, I saw the struggles my parents faced not even having a junior-high education,” Linda said. “I want a better life for myself and my future children.”
The recent Carson High School graduates said they committed to each other to find a way to go to college.
“Seeing our family in Mexico not having the opportunity to pursue even a simple education, it made me realize how fortunate we have it here,” Tobias said. “It’s a way to show that my adversity is not going to limit my future.”
Thanks to scholarships and grants, Linda is headed to Portland State University in the fall and Tobias plans to get his own trailer in Carson City to live in while attending the University of Nevada, Reno.
Among the financial aid they received is the Tiger Drive scholarship, created by Teri Case, who recently released her novel by the same name.
Case, who graduated from Carson High School in 1989, also grew up in the trailer park on Tiger Drive. Although her book is a work of fiction, it’s based on her life experience growing up with nine siblings in a broken, often violent home.
“You write what you know,” she said. “My family had addiction. It had domestic violence. It had previous generations of sexual abuse. None of it was addressed nor counseled.”
When she was 15, she moved out — and that gave her a chance at a future.
“I always had the most amazing friends, and their families were so amazing,” she said. “These people believing in me and wishing me well was really powerful.”
She returned to Carson City recently from her Ithaca, N.Y., home for a “Tiger Drive” book signing at Comma Coffee, where it was packed with fans and friends.
“I didn’t expect this,” she said. “This community has just welcomed me. These are people who played a huge part in my life.”
Her debut novel is a way of thanking them for giving her a chance.
“The premise of the book is that people just want to know they matter,” she said.
Her scholarship is a way to pay that forward to the next generation. She has awarded 12 scholarships over the past four years.
“It’s an opportunity to be exposed to something outside of what you’ve always known,” Case said. “You start seeing, OK, there’s a different way to do things.”
Although she notes society is talking more about the things she experienced growing up, she said children and families in Carson City, like in homes around the globe, continue to struggle in silence.
“A lot of people have secrets,” she said. “Secrets kill.”
To learn more about Teri Case, to donate to the scholarship or to order, “Tiger Drive,” go to TeriCase.com. Books can also be purchased at the The Purple Avocado, 904 N. Curry St.
For mental health resources, go to pcccarson.org.