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Yenifer of Eastern Connecticut State University is TheDream.US’ “DREAMer of the Week”

For Immediate Release: January 9, 2020

Contact: Carli Kientzle at [email protected]


Yenifer of Eastern Connecticut State University 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. TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college access and success program for immigrant youth, having provided 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.


This week’s DREAMer is Yenifer, a scholar of Eastern Connecticut State University:

My mother is my inspiration for pursuing higher education. She grew up in the streets of El Salvador and never had educational opportunities. It’s just the two of us, and we came to the United States when I was just a kid. My junior year of high school I discovered I would be unable to attend my dream university. It had nothing to do with my grades, attendance, or participation in school, but my undocumented status prevented me from attending. Then, my best friend told me about TheDream.US. Eastern Connecticut University seemed to suddenly become a possibility, and with her help, I finished my application. With this scholarship, I could start down the path of becoming a professional. I hope to become a Spanish teacher and teach at my old high school to support DREAMers and other students.

My first struggle in the United States was learning English and attending school with American students. School in America was not easy, and I frequently would try to avoid going to class. I was embarrassed about my inability to speak English as well as my peers could, but thanks to the support from my mother, cousin, and best friend I found it easier and easier to blend in.

I was happy during the majority of my time at school, and my group of friends continued to grow and give me confidence. High school was a time where I felt like I could take on the world. School became like a second home for me and gave me new perspectives on the struggles I faced every day. My mother was single, undocumented and made barely enough money for our household, but despite being poor 80% of the time, I felt love 100% of the time.

I am scared that one day I will wake up and a signature on a piece of paper could take me away from my dreams and my home. Everyone deserves to be given a chance to feel welcome and feel like he or she has a purpose in life. DACA makes DREAMers feel hope and provides a chance to bring their families to higher and better lives.


  • 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