Fernanda Lima, 22, from Georgia, born in Brazil
My mom is my hero; a single mother of two and a marvelous nurse. Like parents throughout history and across backgrounds, she has always sacrificed on our behalf so that we could have a better life. We arrived from Brazil, settling in Georgia, when I was just four years old. The transition was not always easy: the apartment we lived in was barely furnished and my sister and I shared a bed for the first three or four years in America. My mother sacrificed her nursing career and left behind her house, her car, and most everything she owned so that we could have a shot at the American dream. She started working cleaning houses to support me and my sister and is still cleaning houses to this day, almost twenty years later. Despite the hardships, I remember our arrival in this country being very happy. We learned how to work hard and we learned to appreciate others. I believe that growing up in America taught us how to be better people. America has always felt like home to me. DREAMers came here for a purpose. We have dreams to benefit this country and dreams to make the sacrifices of our parents worth it for us. We didn’t come here to live off the government or anyone else’s hard work besides our own. There should always be a need for motivated young adults to have the ability to better themselves and ultimately the country. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t recognize just how wonderful this country is. We are not here to harm it. We are here to help it and to push it forward. After graduating with a nursing degree, I plan on becoming a nurse and eventually a nurse practitioner. I want to work in the NICU at a hospital, or even become part of the organization Nurses Without Borders, in order to fight for the lives that cannot yet fight on their own. In my own way, I also want to honor my mother and her original career and ongoing sacrifice – a sacrifice so familiar to millions of parents across the world.