Araceli MendezEarlier this year I received a college scholarship from TheDream.US. Right now I am a student at BMCC in my second semester. It’s a challenge to balance working (I’m a peer mentor at BMCC) and going to school!

If you are an undocumented student who is DACA eligible and who meets the scholarship requirements, you have to apply for this scholarship. When I first heard about it from Student Affairs at BMCC, it sounded too good to be true. It was hard for me to believe that TheDream.US would pay for me to go to college. After high school, I had worked for three years with my mother cleaning houses to save money to pay for college. Suddenly I had a scholarship that would cover my expenses.

I’m originally from Mexico, and I came to the United States when I was five years old. I crossed with my mother and my baby sister – even though my sister had been born in the United States a couple of years earlier, my mother brought her back to Mexico so that we could cross together, as a family, and so that my sister and I could share the experience along with some of the suffering that would come after. For me, the separation from the rest of my family was really tough. My grandmother in Mexico had raised me.

For those of you who might be eligible for the scholarship, even though it sounds too good to be true, you have to have faith in what TheDream.US is trying to do for you. This has been a great experience for me. In January I went to Washington D.C., when they launched the scholarship. It was a big media event, where I met Donald Graham, who started TheDream.US. He was really nice and enthusiastic. I owe him an email now because he’ll want to know that I got into Phi Beta Kappa at BMCC! I was also interviewed by CBS News this year!

There are so many challenges, but with the help of others you can overcome them. TheDream.US is offering very real support. Apply for the scholarship now, and if you’re not eligible spread the word to your friends and networks. That’s what I’m trying to do. That’s why I’m telling my story.

Good luck!

Araceli Mendez
Borough of Manhattan Community College

TheDream.US Recipient