Country of Origin: El Salvador
Age of Arrival: 7 years old
Hometown: Brentwood, NY
Degree: International Business
No kid should be made to feel that there are limits on what they can do. Yet after I found out I was undocumented, that’s how I initially felt.
TheDream.US Scholarship and DACA allow people like me to grow and show what we’re capable of doing. Through DACA, I have been able to work, get a driver’s license, and be employed – just like all my other friends. It’s as close as I can get to being a citizen at the moment.
I come from a mixed-status family of six and arrived in the U.S. at age seven. I am the first one in my family to graduate high school and will be the first to graduate from college. I have two younger brothers and one little sister; one of my siblings came with me from El Salvador and the other two were born in America. Both my parents are undocumented, working minimum wage jobs while raising a family. My father works in a deli and my mom cleans homes for a living.
Adjusting to the customs here in the U.S. wasn’t very difficult for me – I always have had an open mind and am eager to learn. I was intrigued by the way of living here, so I made it my goal to assimilate quickly. Learning English was one of the hardest tasks, but after some setbacks, I took the initiative to succeed in the language.
I was busy in high school. I volunteered at our local church on the weekends. When the school held events I made sure to be there either representing a club or just by myself. I donated blood. I even took officer positions, including being the treasurer of the French Honor Society. But my favorite role was as a mentor in our schools first Generation Success Program, where I was able to help other students learn about success in high school and college, in addition to showing them steps towards getting into the right school.
Giving back to my community is both a short and long-term goal of mine. I want to help my community progress in many ways, including by making sure people know their rights and are educated enough to be able to reach their goals and dreams. At the moment, I will continue to mentor students in my community. I want them to understand that they are capable of succeeding and overcoming the many obstacles found in our community. Furthermore, I want to advocate about how immigrants make a positive impact to the American society and culture.
Without access to higher education, I wouldn’t be able to follow my dreams. My chances of being able to help out my family and community financially would be limited. I would be stuck working at a minimum wage job, with a slim chance of progressing. Now, I want to obtain as much knowledge as I can. With the education I achieve, I want to open a business or work part of a corporation where I can move up. My ultimate goal is to become financially independent and help give back to those who have helped me on my journey.