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Yubelkis Matias

(Bronx Community College)

Ever since her six-year old brother was born, Yubelkis Matias has never really been able to just hang out. “I never had the lifestyle hang with friends,” says the 18 year old. “Now it’s work, school, take care of my brother. I will be off Saturday to take care of my brother,” she says. She works as a receptionist in a waxing center. Her mother, who works in a clothing store, takes Sunday duty.

What she really loves, though, is interior design.

“My mom says I’m a little crazy. I never had my own room, so in this apartment she made a room for me. I have changed this room every possible way you can think of. One wall is magenta. Another is olive green. I have a wall decal I bought at Target – it’s leaves and little birds,” she says.

Last semester she and her Mom split the cost for accounting classes at Bronx Community College. “When I was going to school, I had to work a lot of hours. I had no other choice.”

“My mom is a single parent,” says Yubelkis. “She would do anything for me to go to school, but it’s too much. She has to pay rent.”

“It was stressful. But I passed all my classes with A’s. I was excited.”

Yubelkis joined her mother in the U.S. at age six from the Dominican Republic. “I started third grade here.”

Down the road, she dreams of following her love of interior design.

Right now, though, she’s being pragmatic. TheDream.US scholarship will let her continue her studies in business administration and accounting, and to transfer to a four-year school. “Right now I want to be an accountant,” she says.