For Immediate Release: May 28, 2020
Contact: Carli Kientzle at [email protected]
Dino of Miami Dade College is TheDream.US’ “DREAMer of the Week”
Washington, DC – TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and success program for undocumented immigrant youth, is continuing its “DREAMer of the Week” feature – a weekly profile of a TheDream.US Scholar whose story offers a powerful example of the incalculable contributions of DREAMers to America.
This week’s DREAMer is Dino, a Scholar of Miami Dade University:
The process of applying for college is very stressful for everyone, but for me it was a bit different. For every application, I needed to take a completely different route due to my status. My DACA status has served as a shield for the last two years and provided a small pathway with light waiting at the end. However, while DACA gave me the ability to go to school, it didn’t come with financial aid. While coping with the stress of applications, I was also unsure how I would afford it. My school counselor guided me towards TheDream.US – my gift from God and my only hope of attending college.
I plan to take advantage of every opportunity this country has to offer, obtain a higher education, and remain in the United States to show my parents and my family that all of their hard work, sacrifice, and pain over the last 12 years paid off. I want to fall in love with learning and put all of my energy towards being a great student and planning for my future – not worrying about where my future will be.
I am studying physical therapy because of my love for sports and exercise. In the future, I would love to take care of sport-related injuries. I hope I can continue to be a great athlete, and, above all else, I hope more than anything to be happy, to love my job, to feel like a success, and to serve as a role model to kids who don’t think they have a chance.
At just 5 years old, my family – my mom, dad, two siblings, and I – decided to take the risk and relocate to the United States. At first, I thought we were just coming on a vacation. I was in love with Miami, but I was too young to understand what was happening. Thankfully, learning to speak English came very easily for me, and I mastered the language in just a year – well, as much as a second grader needs to know. My two siblings, both older, were unable to finish college, but I never wanted that for myself. Neither of my parents has an official degree either. But, my mother held a high-level job at an important company back home, and my father owned a shoe company. Neither of those jobs translated in the U.S.
The sacrifices my parents have made and are still making are endless. Even the smallest privileges, such as my dad being able to safely drive me to soccer practice, were taken away from us. My parents, and later on my siblings and I, have given up so much of what the rest of society takes for granted to remain “safer” in this country.
At an early age, l became very curious as to why my family had not been back to visit our relatives in Mexico. I finally realized that we were undocumented when I was about 14 – right when I was getting ready to apply for the DACA status. Growing up in America in an undocumented family was bittersweet. Miami is a very unique place given the abundance of Latinos living here, which was a huge relief as we didn’t feel completely alone.
The town where I grew up, however, was another story. It’s a very small wealthy town, and, as I moved past my elementary years, my family’s lack of wealth became more evident. I realized I was nowhere close to being similar to these kids, who owned luxury cars at the age of 15, lived in big mansions, and attended private schools.
On the other hand, growing up in America had many advantages. I got to learn another culture, language and even visit other parts of the country. I had the privilege of meeting all kinds of people and being open-minded to many situations and possibilities. It gave me the motivation to one day be successful like the people who used to intimidate me.
Growing up in America has had ups and downs, but, even if I’ve felt like an outcast, I’ve learned the value of hard work and to leave my insecurities behind me. I feel at home here in the US, but I think I would feel at home in Mexico too. Even though I know this country more, the connection still remains with my country of birth.
TheDream.US has provided over 5,000 college scholarships to DREAMers at more than 70 partner colleges in 16 states and Washington, DC.
The Scholars’ stories are especially powerful and poignant following the Supreme Court oral arguments on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an executive action, which provided temporary legal protection for undocumented youth, terminated by President Trump in September 2017. The legal limbo and uncertainty is affecting Scholars’ lives, health, and futures and threatens to keep Scholars from fulfilling their incredible potential.
- Read through TheDream.US Scholar story-bank, featuring powerful personal reflections from Scholars about their lives, journeys, and future goals here
- Hear from two TheDream.US graduates, now working as a teacher and a nurse, discussing the impact of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program online here
- Watch a new video featuring TheDream.US college graduates online here