Houston business owner pays it forward to help teen who gave college savings to mom

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston high school senior who made national headlines for giving up her entire college savings to help pay for her mom's rent has been receiving an overwhelming amount of support and now, she's even being offered a free graduation party.

READ MORE: Houston YES Prep student gives up entire college savings to help her mom pay rent

Alondra Carmona, a senior at Yes Prep East End, said she chose to put her Ivy League dreams on hold after her mom disclosed to her that she's been unemployed for three months and is behind on rent.

Carmona decided to give her mom all of the money she saved for college and even created a GoFundMe to help. After Eyewitness News shared Carmona's story, she went from having $3,000 in donations to more than $80,000.

"It feels like a dream," she said.

Meanwhile, Darren Randle, who owns a tent and event company in Houston, came across Carmona's story on social media and immediately wanted to help.

"As soon as I read it, I thought, 'How can I help? What can I do?' She shouldn't be having to feel this way," said Randle.

The teen's story was a special one for Randle. He said when he moved to Houston from Tennessee to attend the University of Houston, he, too, struggled with college money.

"I didn't qualify for any financial aid, I didn't have any scholarships, I left all that in Tennessee and was struggling to figure out how I'm going to pay for school," he said.

He recalled feeling the same way as Carmona, so during a joint Zoom call hosted by ABC13 on Tuesday, Randle personally offered Carmona a free graduation party for her and her family.

"I've been doing a ton of graduation and backyard, small weddings and family gatherings ... trying to do it socially-distanced the best that I could to help out people," said Randle. "[I wanted to] help you celebrate that moment."

To read more about Carmona's story, visit her GoFundMe page.

Watch: How community, including business owner, stepped in to help Houston teen
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The great news we need! Hear how the community has stepped up in a major way to make sure this high school seniors dreams of going to college come true.

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