In 2001, my mother, brother and I were on our way to the Bronx, New York. We arrived safe, excited, nervous and overdressed. We remember it being a typical scorching summer day in New York. The air felt thick, hot and sticky, nothing in comparison to the summers back home. Our journey to our new home in The Bronx had us in awe. The buildings, the people, the smells and the streets were all so different from Bolivia. We were excited to live the “American” lifestyle and be part of this country.
As I grew up, I encountered many obstacles that led me to believe I had no place, no purpose or talent. In school, my teachers would always forget my name and my classmates didn’t really want to befriend me. I remember trying really hard to stand out and be friendly, but rejection followed me like a shadow. At home, I didn’t receive the support or acknowledgment a child craves. My parents worked hard to support my brother and me, but they were almost never home. For most of my childhood to teenage years, I have been alone in terms of emotional support. It was difficult to grow up knowing your triumphs will be ignored, your voice unheard and your presence forgotten.
After graduating High School, I felt as if my life was going down the drain. I didn’t have any hope for my future let alone a reason to even try to move forward. I blamed my parents for my legal problems and buried myself in a dark hole of sadness and hopelessness. Gradually, I climbed out that hole and began to notice my interest in food. I decided my purpose is to help people understand that food is not our enemy but an ally to our health. After my epiphany, I received my DACA results. I said to myself “This was a sign, I know it” and so I took it. I saved all of my paychecks and enrolled in York College.
During my first semester I received notice of a scholarship for DACA eligible students. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, so I applied. In December of 2014, I received the email stating, “You have been selected to receive TheDream.US Scholarship.” Me! The girl everyone ignores. My heart dropped, my throat knotted, and I burst into tears. Finally, someone believes in me. I have not been forgotten and my voice has been heard. The Dream.US Scholarship gave me more than financial stability; they gave me hope in this country and myself. I am filled with gratitude to be given the opportunity of accomplishing my dreams.
The Dream.US Recipient