For Immediate Release: September 10, 2020
Contact: Gaby Rodriguez at [email protected]
Nico of the University of Central Florida 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 Nico a Scholar of the University of Central Florida:
Some advice? Don’t be afraid. I was even afraid to apply for TheDream.US for fear of rejection but here I am. My education is the only thing that keeps me going every day. I didn’t choose this life… I didn’t chose to be undocumented. But I, my family, immigrants, we are still humans. I want to show everyone that I have what it takes to support my loved ones and be proud of my success.
My parents are two of the most hardworking individuals that I know. They’ve sacrificed so much for me and my siblings and raised us all while working low-paying jobs. All to provide for us so that we could have a better life- at any cost. I came to this country from Colombia at two years old and have lived here, undocumented, along with my parents, ever since. In Colombia, my parents were educated people. My mother had a college degree, they had good jobs there, but none of that mattered when we moved here. That’s why TheDream.US scholarship is so important to me, it helps me achieve the life my parents and I have so long dreamed of. I want to earn my degree in civil engineering so I can help my family and make sure they are all supported.
We live in constant uncertainty since my parents are also undocumented. Luckily, when I moved to the U.S., the adjustment was fairly smooth. Learning English was challenging, but I eventually got the hang of it. My family and I have dealt with humiliation and discrimination from people who think we are less than human because we come from a different country. Our home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and we were forced to move – once again I had to start over. Life here in the U.S. has been lonely and hard, to say the least.
I eventually found out I was undocumented in high school when I tried to apply for college scholarships. I finally realized I wouldn’t be eligible for aid after my parents told me about my status. Applying for college is already stressful, but learning I was undocumented added even more stress. Thankfully, I’ve had the support of my friends, who even reviewed my application for TheDream.US scholarship.
With TheDream.US scholarship, I want to get an education so I can find a good job and eventually buy my parents a home to thank them for everything. I’ve already obtained an associate in arts degree, and now I want to experience college like an average student. I want to make unforgettable memories and be glad I decided to not give up.
TheDream.US has provided over 6,500 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