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Third Round of Grant Winners

Maryam

Maryam, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Maryam O. is a senior at The University of Houston – Downtown studying Biology and plans to become a medical doctor. She has been volunteering in her community she was in High School at local hospitals, churches, Ministries, and in student associations. She is originally from the United Arab Emirates and she came to the United States at age 13. She sees her entry into the United States as a blessing that will change her life forever because it gives her the opportunity for an education and the DACA grant gives her the opportunity to become a productive member of society. She wants to give back to her community in the future and give back to the country that has given her so many opportunities. “This grant will be used for future tuition payments and will bring me closer to my graduation. I receive no federal financial aid and greatly depend on the support of my parents to pay my tuition expenses.”

Karla

Karla, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Karla Q. came to the United States at age 2. She is currently working on a Marketing Major with a Minor in Mexican American Studies in the The University of Houston Business School. She also volunteers at the The University of Houston Law Center’s Immigration Clinic and participates in community outreach programs including Citizenship workshops. She feels that he status as an immigrant has taught her to not take her education for granted but that she has t seize the opportunities that she earns and help others who are in her situation be productive and successful. She believes by striving to do well academically, she will fulfill the dream that her parents had when they brought her here. “I remember watching President Obama making this announcement and feeling a huge passing of relief go through me. My family’s I-130 forms have been “in process” for nearly twenty years, I was hoping for anything, anything at all to make life a little easier while were granted permanent residence in this country.”

Fernando

Fernando, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Fernando B. graduated first in his class from Northbrook High School. He is planning on attending Texas A&M University. He came to the United States around age 4, speaking his native dialect Nahuatl, which left him unable to communicate with the kids who spoke Spanish and the kids who spoke English. He recalls begging his mother to not make him go to school as a child, but she insisted that he give it all his effort. He says that overcoming he challenge gave him the confidence that he could achieve anything in life despite the barriers. He is graduating with honors, while he has been playing varsity football for the last two years and representing his class as a member of his student council. “I’m determined to acquire my goals despite the struggles I have and will encounter on my path to success. I want to have the opportunity to show society my skills and not let my status define me.”

Nelcy

Nelcy, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Nelcy A. graduated in the top 10 of her class at Pasadena High School and will be attending Texas A&M University where she will study accounting. During High School she was a member of National Honors Society, National Hispanic Honors Society, The Eagle Escort Dance Team, Mu Alpha Theta, AVID, Mujeres Latinas Avanzando, and Peer Mentors. She says that she always knew that her parents brought her to the United States because they wanted a better life for her, but she feels like DACA has made her more confident about herself because she is confident that there is an organization that cares about her. She wants to make an impact by sharing her story and strength with others. “I wish to impact other students by recalling my story to them. I don’t feel alone anymore because there was hope and faith inside of me when I heard about the Deferred Action in the Univision news.”

Adolfo

Adolfo

Adolfo Ivan Arizpe
Claudia

Claudia, Pursuing High School Diploma

Claudia S. plans on graduating from Early College Academy at Southridge, her High School, with an Associates Degree of college credit already under her belt. She is also a member of her student council and volunteers at a local elementary school with the Community Club in her High School, which promotes diversity. She plans on earning her Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering in the future. Claudia believes that her hard work and education will open doors for her and that down the road she will be able to support her parents. She is appreciative of the opportunity that they have given her and her brothers and she wants to repay them for their sacrifices by working hard in school and supporting them so that they do not have to worry and so that they can be proud of her. We are sure that she has made them proud! “This grant would be the beginning of a journey that would lead my family towards the American Dream.”

Heybi

Heybi, Pursuing High School Diploma

Heybi R. dreams of becoming a cardiologist. She is 17 years old and she came to the United States at the age of three from Honduras. She works hard to maintain her straight “A” average so that she get into a good college. To her, the American Dream is about not living in fear because of status and working hard to help others. She believes in working hard to reach your goals. Heybi played softball her freshman year at Northbrook High School in Houston, Texas and she has participated in the Houston Marathon for the last two years. “Obtaining this grant would mean a lot to me because I would be starting with the right step to pursue my dream of becoming someone important in life. Not only would it give me hope to stay more time in the United States, but the strength to keep fighting against all odds.”

Isy

Isy, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Isy S. is currently attending Houston Community College with the goal of becoming a lawyer. She graduated in the top 2% of her High School class, which automatically qualified her for any public college in Texas. In addition to her academic achievements, she played Softball, competed with the Varsity Track team, she was the Commencement Speaker for her 2012 Class, she played Basketball, and was the Vice President of her class for 2 years. She also volunteered in local elementary schools all four years that she was in High School. She believes that being involved in so many organizations has given her character and taught her to fight for what is right. “I believe that with the Deferred Action program I am going to be able to help others much more.”

Irene

Irene, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Irene E. is attending college at Sam Houston University. She is working her Bachelor’s of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies: 4-8 Mathematics/Sciences because she wants to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. She wants to give back to the community that she came from and help other people’s dreams come true. Before attending Sam Houston, Irene went to San Jacinto College – North where she was in the Rotary Club. As a Rotary member, Irene helped feed the homeless, she an organization that benefits abused women, and worked with an organization that donates computers to students, as well as other community projects. “This award would allow me to have the opportunity to work so that I can help my parents with my school tuition.”

Jose

Jose, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Jose A. is currently attending Lone College – CyFair. He is an active volunteer in the Kids Life program at Lakewood Church. His goal is to transfer to the University of Texas at Dallas where he plans to study Game Design. He dreams of being the first person in his family to graduate from college and making his parents proud with a career in the arts and sciences field. Jose volunteers at his church because it makes him feel connected to society and he likes to share his faith. He has a positive outlook on life based on his faith and his American Dream! “The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival was the American Dream for thousands of people in this country, including mine. It gave those people and me hope that we can still move on with our lives and continue our other dreams that we have yet to accomplish.”


Second Round of Grant Winners

Benjamin

Benjamin, College Graduate

Benjamin M.has lived in the U.S. since the age of 6. After seven years of dedication and hard work, Benjamin graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering in May 2012. His reluctance to quit when financial circumstances didn’t allow for his education has helped him realize his life-long dream to graduate from college. Benjamin now wants to start his career so that he is able give back to his parents who’ve given him so much.“I feel like my life is a puzzle right now. I have all the right pieces and by placing all the pieces together, a shape starts to take place. I see my family, my education, my faith and now, I see my career. After placing the final piece, I take a step back and see what I have been trying to put together for 26 years: the American Dream.”

Antonio

Antonio, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Antonio S.arrived in the U.S. from Mexico when he was 8 years old. From a very young age, his hero has always been his father, who has sacrificed so much for him and his family. Antonio thanks him every day by furthering his education. A junior, Antonio is currently pursuing a bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Houston. After his undergraduate education, he plans to pursue his master’s and then open his own consulting office in order to help low-income, minority families with their financial concerns.“This grant for me is an opportunity to be able to express myself and to let others know about my story. This grant will serve its purpose and allow me to continue with my education.”

Brenda

Brenda, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Having attended East Early College High School, Brenda M.simultaneously graduated with her high school diploma and her associate degree. She is currently attending the University of Houston where she is pursuing a degree in environmental science and a minor in petroleum engineering. She’s always been concerned with the harmful emissions that parts of Houston produce, and once she graduates, she wants to work on improving the air quality of the city and making it more eco-friendly.“When I first heard about DACA, it was as if all these closed opportunities had suddenly opened up again. This single movement allowed me to hope that the American Dream was within my grasp and that after living in this country for most of our lives, there was a step towards acceptance for us into a country we have considered our own, yet have been considered strangers to.”

Alejandra

Alejandra, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Alejandra R.is a freshman at Texas Southern University where she is pursuing her degree in education and striving for a doctorate in counseling and interdisciplinary studies. The American Dream for her means succeeding by helping others along her own path to success. After graduation she wants to help people like her attend college by becoming a student guidance counselor. One day she hopes to be able to call herself a philanthropist by organizing a scholarship foundation that gives back to her community.“I planned for college since the beginning of my junior year in high school and am very proud of myself for coming this far. But I’m not satisfied yet. I have a plan, and intend to see it through until the end.”

Jacqueline

Jacqueline, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Jacqueline Reyesis currently finishing her associate degree in science before pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communication at a university in the fall. Already the recipient of many awards, she knows the importance of scholarships and wants to give back, so others can attend college as she is doing. Having arrived in the U.S. at the very young age of 1, Jacqueline clearly remembers the hardships throughout her childhood that made it difficult for her to accept who she is. But this has changed recently after she became involved with a DREAM Act organization, which has helped her to truly accept herself.“I understand now that my status doesn’t define who I am. Despite the setbacks I’ve experienced, there is nowhere else I’d like to live, but here in America: My home.”

Monica

Monica, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Having graduated from her high school a year early and with honors, Monica C.is currently finishing her associate degree in science. She will then be transferring to Texas A&M University where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Monica has always been a driven individual and knows that all her hard work and efforts will be rewarded in her ability to work and provide financially for her family. She clearly remembers the day that DACA was announced:“The text was from my mom saying, ‘I can’t believe it! President Obama is going to give a temporary permit to students!’ I could not believe what I had just read; I had to re-read it at least two more times. But there it was. The same sentence every single time. Everything just seemed so unreal.”

Isaac

Isaac, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Isaac V.is a model citizen, committing a majority of his time to the service of others. In addition to the organizations he belongs to at the University of Houston – Downtown, where he is currently pursuing a degree in applied mathematics, Isaac volunteers with FIEL where he helps students like himself file for Deferred Action. After graduation, Issac wants to work for Teach for America while applying to Yale’s University Graduate MBA Program. His dream is to be able to open a non-profit that would focus on the education of young children of limited means.“Personally, I have grown to define the American Dream to be a combination of struggle, persistence and opportunity. The American Dream is not just what people say it is, but it’s also what individuals make it to be.”

Martha

Martha, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Martha P.is currently completing a bachelor’s in accounting at the University of Houston. A member of the Hispanic Business Student Association, Martha volunteers at different places throughout the city and interacts with middle and high school students, stressing the importance of college. Before graduating high school, she did a lot of research to ensure that her status would not affect her ability to attend college. Now that she’s about to graduate, she is a shining example to the rest of her family that they, too, can go to college regardless of their documentation.“To have the opportunity of DACA a year before my graduation is a miracle to me. It’s a glimmer of hope that reassures me that all my positivity and hard work were not for nothing. It makes me glad that instead of giving up because I thought I had no chance, I kept working hard and had faith in things to come.”

Luz

Luz, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Luz M.is presently seeking a degree in early childhood education. She aspires to become a bilingual educator and help young students understand concepts as they improve their English. Luz likes to volunteer regularly for schools and recognizes the important role that schools play in the shaping of future leaders.“Most of my gratitude is to my former high school because the attentive and supportive instructors taught me the great importance of a higher education and of giving back to our community.” She is the first in her family to graduate from high school and attend college, and is grateful for the opportunity Deferred Action brings to students like her, as well as for the reaffirmation the supporters of this cause provide. “I am already exceedingly thankful for the supporters of Deferred Action, who made it possible for students with my status, to be closer to achieving The American Dream.”

Claudia

Claudia, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Claudia M.remembers checking out a Spanish-English dictionary from the library in order to prepare for her first exam at her new school. She remembers how everything was exactly the way she had seen on TV, with lockers and a school cafeteria. Having arrived in the U.S. at the age of 11, the transition was hard, but she persevered and eventually was at the top of her class.“My first experience in the U.S. is what reminds me why I am here and why anything can be overcome with a single dream.”

Claudia is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineer Technology at the University of Houston and wants to be an inspiration to her community that success is possible when you don’t give up.

Amairani

Amairani, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Amairani H. is 20 years old and currently attending the University of Houston – Downtown where she is pursuing a degree in applied mathematics, two minors and a teaching certification. She’s passionate about teaching math and volunteers as a math tutor for high school students in her spare time. As a recipient of scholarships, she knows that having “ganas” and dedication can help you achieve your goals. She also acknowledges that opportunities can lie in the rubble of the worst situations. “I am now thankful for my first ugly experience in the U.S. that woke me up from the self-empathy moment I was having. That pushed me to stop acting like the victim and focus on the school years I still had to conquer…and oh, did I conquer them.”After graduation, Amairani would like to continue her education and attend graduate school to study astronomy.

Nadia

Nadia, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Nadia C. vividly remembers the frustration of not being able to express herself when she came to live in the U.S. at the age of 15. With a new culture came a new language, new habits, and ultimately a new lifestyle. She compares adapting to this country to being reborn, because everything she had previously known no longer held true. “If people consider it tough and sometimes discouraging to be the new student in class, imagine what it feels like to be the new student in a class where nobody speaks your language and where the customs are completely different than your own.”Nadia overcame all these obstacles and is now attending the University of Houston where she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting as well as her public accountant certification. After graduation, she wants to aid low-income families who want to comply with financial regulations but have limited means to do so.

Manuel

Manuel, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Manuel H. arrived in the U.S., from Mexico, at the age of 5. Currently he is studying to obtain his business administration degree in finance with the hopes of working for a Fortune 500 company and eventually becoming the founder of one. As a passionate DREAM Act believer, he knows the example that DREAMers like him must show in order to inspire others who have abandoned the idea of a higher education. “Without a college degree, I wouldn’t I be able to confidently continue being an example and advocate of what a DREAMer stands for.”To Manuel, DACA means progress, in every sense of the word and he acknowledges the power that a simple work permit can grant. “An educated population is an empowered population.”

Karina

Karina, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Karina M. arrived in the U.S. at the very young age of 2. Since the seventh grade, when she was old enough to understand what her legal status meant, she began to feel self-conscious, (like many in similar situations). Now, her fear is replaced by hope and she realizes that all of her and her family’s sacrifices have been worth it. “DACA is an opportunity that will help us prove ourselves, our potential and our skills to the U.S., and hopefully will prove to the skeptical Americans that we are assets to the U.S. rather than a burden for the country.”Karina is currently enrolled in the nursing program at Prairie View A&M University and set to graduate this year. She wanted to be a nurse because she knows first-hand the value of health education in low-income families. Karina wants to be able to teach preventative care to those who rarely visit the doctor due to a variety of reasons, and impact her community through her own desire to succeed.

Montserrat

Montserrat, Graduating from High School

Montserrat E.is a senior at Atascocita High School where she is involved with her school’s athletic program and an avid volunteer. Since the second grade, when she came to the U.S., she has maintained a high academic performance. Her next goal in life is to be the first person in her family to attend college and study industrial engineering at the University of Houston, eventually receive her doctorate. She is adamant about achieving this and knows the value of an education.“Paying for college will be one of my main priorities whether it’s through scholarships or money earned from the sweat of my brow. The United States is my home, and it is up to me to earn the right to say that.”

Sandra

Sandra, Graduating from High School

Sandra H.is a 17-year-old senior at MacArthur High School with an outstanding academic record who belongs to many organizations. She has already been admitted to her dream college, Baylor University, where she plans on pursuing a Bachelor of Science as well as minoring in Spanish. By achieving her educational goals, Sandra plans to give back to her community and hopes that her story motivates others in this similar situation to not give up on their dreams.On arriving in the U.S. on a Fourth of July she says, “By watching the fireworks every year I acknowledge the history behind the celebration, and I too, wish to experience liberty as the colonists did. Independence Day is not only a reminder of having resided yet another year in the U.S., but a reminder of what I am set forth to do: to make this country proud, the same way that I proudly consider myself an American.”

Genesis

Genesis, Graduating from High School

Genesis G.’s dedication to her education is evidenced in the fact that she is the top student in a graduating class of over 700. Since the age of 9, when she arrived in the U.S., she has been driven to do better each day and work hard towards her goals. Her legal status has prompted extreme interest in law and politics, so much so that she intends to major in political science and eventually attend law school. Genesis wants to help ensure the protection of people’s civil liberties and rights and do everything she can to give back to her community.“The most important thing that DACA has brought to my life is the idea that for once, someone acknowledged the fact that, in my heart, I am an American.”

Jacqueline

Jacqueline, Graduating from High School

Jacqueline Rosas is a very active senior at Pasadena High School. She belongs to numerous clubs, including the National Honor Society and the National Hispanic Society, and volunteers year-round. Jacqueline arrived in the U.S. at the age of 6 and has since then taken advantage of every good opportunity that has come her way. “I don’t just want to show my parents what I’m capable of doing, but I also want to show everyone out in the world what great things I can do.”Jacqueline wants to major in criminal justice upon graduating from high school, while being a premedical student. She hopes to one day become a doctor so that she is able to give back to the community and help those in need.

Jose

Jose, In High School

At just 16 years old, Jose C.has demonstrated determination beyond his years in all he does. A member of his high school’s marching band, his commitment to the adage “Practice Makes Perfect” led to him being selected to play in Caliente, a Latin jazz group that has become the only youth group to receive the Best Latin Band Award from the Houston Press. Jose’s career goal is to attend medical school and become a surgeon, setting an example for his two younger brothers so that they may also realize their dreams.“Even though I wasn’t born into greatness, I am confident in myself, and know that I am responsible for my own success.”

Ximena

Ximena, In High School

Ximena M. is a freshman in high school who has lived in the U.S. since the age of 7. Ximena knows the commitment DREAMers like her have to make to their education to secure success in their futures. “Almost everyone in class was talking, and I was actually doing my work. One of my friends asked me for what, and my answer was that I just had to work harder.”In her free time, Ximena volunteers for the Houston SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), her church and school programs during the summer. After graduating high school, she wants to major in history at a university so that she can continue on to law school, and eventually become a judge and fight for citizen rights.

“I have the desire to be successful even though many opportunities have been closed for me. And maybe I fall 100 times, but I will stand up 20 more.”

First Round of Grant Winners

Victor

Victor, College Graduate

Victor M. is 24 years old and is from Mexico. He graduated magna cum laudefrom the University of Houston-Downtown in May 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science. Victor has lived in Houston since he was 8 years old. He plans to attend graduate school and get a master’s degree in computer science for business management. Thereafter, he plans to open his own company in programming and video game development. One of his dreams is to help his father retire and have some time off to relax.“I am extremely grateful to my mom and dad for giving up their way of life and leaving our family and our country in order for me to have a better life. Without their sacrifice, I would have never known what the American Dream is and my life would have been different.”

Victor

Matthew, College Graduate

Originally born Peru, Matthew O. immigrated to Houston when he was 12 years old. He graduated magna cum laudefrom the University of Houston-Downtown with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology. His ultimate goal is to attend medical school, become a physician, and catalyze significant changes in preventive medicine among my Latino community.Matthew believes now is the time to prove that immigrants, especially young ones like the Dreamers, are one of this nation’s most promising assets. He explains that the Dreamers will dispel the belief that they came to this country to squander resources and for only personal gain.

“It is time to prove that we, the Dreamers, have the potential to make significant progress in this nation as long as we overcome slight obstacles. We need to show the American public that we wish to take responsibility for the nation which one day will need us to hold its reins. It is time to prove that the DREAMers also belong to the collective ‘We the people.’”

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Juan, College Graduate

Juan C.completed a bachelor’s degree in biology and Spanish from Southwestern University and is pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Houston. He came from Mexico at the age of 8 to seek help in treating an eye disease that had caused him to become blind in his left eye and which was progressing to his right eye. Because of the treatment he obtained, Juan is determined to receive a Ph.D. in cancer biology to help others. Juan explains that:“The God given gift of using your knowledge and skills to help others…is Living the American Dream.”

Tzaddi

Tzaddi, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Tzaddi G.was born in Mexico and has been in the United States since she was 7 years old. From the time she was a child, medicine has always been an interest to her so she graduated from DeBakey High School for Health Professions. Tzaddi is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies with a minor in biology from the University of Houston. She is currently 21 years old and states that one of her goals is to attend graduate school and become a physician assistant.“Even though I have grown up with American values, American beliefs, and American customs, I am not able to live my American Dream. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a great step for me and many others to reach this dream.”

Fatima

Fatima, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Fatima L.is 23 years old and arrived in the United Sates at the age of 11. She explains that when she first arrived, the transition was difficult and she was disappointed that her parents would not return. She was able to move beyond these initial fears and focus on education. Currently, she is a senior in college pursuing a dual degree in supply chain management and marketing. Her plans for the future are to work in the oil and gas industry, and to continue her education by acquiring an MBA with a focus on energy. Fatima is currently involved with several groups on campus and actively volunteers with local organizations. This success, however, has come at a personal cost. Six years ago, Fatima’s mother was deported and Fatima separated from her. Fatima did not let this set her back:“I had to become stronger more reliable to keep myself and my family going.”

Liliana

Liliana, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Liliana M.is 23 years old and is currently attending the University of Houston. She is pursuing a degree in interdisciplinary studies EC-6 bilingual generalist. Liliana hopes to become a teacher in the state of Texas. Liliana has lived in Houston since she was two years old and has managed to overcome many obstacles. Her main goal is to make her family proud. She hopes to one day look back at her life and know it was all worth it.“I feel in my heart that life will get better eventually and DACA is just the beginning of bigger and better things that are yet to come for the Dreamer population. For now, I will hold on to this optimism in my soul and wish for the best; for soon I will be the ‘someone’ I have always wished to be.”

David

David, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

As an immigrant from Honduras, David P.has resided in the United States for 8 years and is currently in his second year at the University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering. At 19 years of age, his dreams are to become an outstanding mechanical engineer and possibly work in the energy industry. He has a hunger for success and a relentless spirit for excellence, but his most important attribute is gratitude. He is grateful to a nation that has given him a home, to parents who work so hard see him succeed, and to all the people who are helping him reach his goals.While David acknowledges the negative views towards immigrants, he has a plan.

“I am driven to show that I am not anything like the stereotypical ‘mojado’ who comes to invade the US, to suck all welfare benefits, drive people out of work, and cost the government billions. Instead, I want to show through example that I am, like all aspiring Dreamers, willing to give this country what this country has given me for so many years. I have a desire to push this nation forward, use my intellect to do good and ensure that generations after enjoy the liberties and opportunities this nation provides.”

Melissa

Melissa, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Melissa S.is 21 years old and is from Mexico. She has been in the Houston area since the age of 14. Life has not been easy for her. She has been through so many struggles and works odd jobs to pay for school and living expenses. Notwithstanding, Melissa explains that God is always there guiding her and motivating to achieve all her goals in life. Melissa is currently attending the University of Houston, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. One of her dreams is to find a good job and encourage young Hispanic kids to keep studying so they may have a better future. Melissa explains what Deferred Action means:“Hope that there’s something more for me than just working a minimum wage job. Hope that someday I might be able to have a better life with a career that I have dreamed about.”

Cynthia

Cynthia, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Cynthia H.has lived in the United States for 12 years. She arrived in the United States at the age of seven years old from Mexico.“Every day, I am more thankful of the opportunity that my parents gave me by bringing me to this country, which I have learned to call my own throughout the years. Of course, I will never forget my roots, but I have learned that you must adapt to your surroundings and learn from what is now your place of living.”

Cynthia is currently enrolled as a full time college student. She would like to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

“To some people, the ‘American Dream’ can be looked upon as finally being able to reside in the United States legally, but in my point of view there is much more to it than that. I define the ‘American Dream’ as a level of self-fulfillment in which you take the best opportunities this country has offered you, and make this country proud of you by making positive choices.”

Cynthia

Cynthia, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Cynthia S.was born in Mexico. She came to United States at age of five and has not looked back. At the age of 26, she has already attained her associate’s degree in early childhood development and will be pursuing her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Houston-Downtown. She is a mother of 5 children and her dream is to become a bilingual teacher and help young children.“My life, I feel is what the American Dream was in the beginning of this great nation and what it will be again someday; an immigrant coming to America to make a better life for themselves and their families so that together we will build an even better nation.”

Rosa

Rosa, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Rosa L.was born in Mexico and came to the United States at the age of nine. She is currently attending the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Nursing.“I have always known that education is the key to opening all doors and strived to be one of the top students.”

Because of this, Rosa was able to graduate from high school with two diplomas, a distinguished high school diploma and a bilingual international bachelorette diploma.

Laura

Laura, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Laura C.arrived in the United States from Columbia at the age of nine. She is currently studying at the University of Houston and is pursuing a double major in communication disorders and psychology, with a minor in Spanish.“When the Deferred Action program was introduced, I realized that my future, along with that of so many of my friends and other students in my same situation, had finally opened up. I had finally been given a chance to succeed in this country.”

Minelya

Minelya, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Minelya D.was born in Mexico and came to the United States when she was nine years old. She is currently a junior at the University of Houston and would like to become an interior architecture. She lives in Houston with her brother and father; her mother was deported to Mexico. Minelya explains that the separation has been difficult on the family and that when she was younger she questioned her parents’ decision to bring them to the U.S. since it has resulted in her separation from her mother. However, she now understands the sacrifice.When explaining her gratitude for America, Minelya states that she is grateful for the opportunity to work for what she wants to do in life and to contribute to the country that has now become her home and has shaped her to become person she is today.

“I am aware that there is a struggle and many hardships facing corporate America right now, especially for architects. But for the opportunity to work for what I want to do in life, to contribute to the country that has now become my home and has shaped me to the person I am now, I am more than grateful.”

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Cristobal, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Cristobal T. was born in Mexico and came to the United States at the age of five. At 19, he explains that Mexico is not his country and he can barely remember the time he was there. Cristobal has already completed an associate degree in science. Cristobal acknowledges the limitations of DACA, – “it is not a pathway to citizenship and not a permanent solution.” However, he explains it is a step in the right direction. It is “a way for us to continue our education and aid our home.”When describing his goals he states, “I want to be a Math Teacher with a Master’s degree in mathematics…be able to serve as a Marine for the United States, but overall I want to be a model for the next generation.”

Sandra

Sandra, Pursuing Bachelor’s Degree

Sandra D. came to the United States at the age of 11 from Mexico. Sandra’s family came to the United States after her brother died in a car accident. She explains that the handling of the investigation into the accident prompted the family to move. Sandra is attending the University of Houston and would like to be a therapist to help those who have gone through traumatic experience. When describing the American Dream, she states, “A better future is a simple way to describe it.”

Amanda

Amanda, in High School

Amanda T. a 17 years old and junior in high school. She and the oldest of four children. Amanda came to the United States from Honduras at the age of three. Notwithstanding her legal status, she has always been an “A” student and explains that “it is hard to see teenagers with legal status give up opportunities by not applying themselves in school.”Amanda explains that DACA has given her hopes and dreams new life.“I have a chance to show my potential…I will be able to apply for a driver’s license, get a social security number, and get a part time job. These are life changing events that were unobtainable before. This is truly a blessing that has been bestowed upon me and so many other young dreamers of my time. This is a huge step in immigration history. The American Dream can now become a reality.”

Carlos

Carlos, in High School

Carlos R.has lived in the United States since he was two years old; he is now 15 years old and in high school. Carlos has been in the Gifted & Talented Program since first grade. Prior to the enactment of Deferred Action, Carlos worried that despite his academic success he would not be able to lead his family out of poverty, where basic necessities like air conditioning are lacking. Carlos’ outlook has changed now:“I have a chance at my future…I had given up hope of having a career. Now, however, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has opened up a huge door toward a good life…This law means that thousands of good students like me have a future.”

Andres

Andres, in High
School

Andres E.is 16 years old and a junior in high school. He was born in Mexico, but has lived in the United States for ten years. Andres currently runs cross country and track. He dreams of getting a scholarship to participate in these sports at the collegiate level. Andres is also involved in many organizations and often volunteers in his community. Andres’ American Dream would be to be able to attend college on an athletic scholarship and pursue a degree in either engineering or architecture, and make a living doing something he loves.“I refuse to let a shortage of money limit my education and ultimately, my potential.” Andres explains that when he was little he really didn’t know what coming to this country meant but now understands and appreciates why America is called the “Land of Opportunity.”

Maria

Maria, in High School

Maria C. arrived in the United States from Colombia at the age of five with only a suit case and her favorite doll. She is now 17 years old and a high school student; and she would like to study architecture when she graduates. Maria explains that DACA “represents a positive change for all immigrant students in the country and is a chance to prove that although we don’t have citizenship, we have the will to succeed in this country even if we can’t call it our own. It is our chance to show that we are here to improve our lives and to work for what is best for us and our future.”

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Estefany, in High School

Estefany C.is 16 years old and is attending high school. She has been living in the United States since she was five years old. She remembers crossing the Rio Grande:“Even [though] I was a kid, I knew that running in the desert, hiding from the police and crossing the river with lots of people wasn’t normal. We got to the point that they separated us and the only thing I could remember from that day was when my mom said ‘estoy asiendo todo esto por ustedes mijas.”

Estefany understood that her parents came to the United States for a better life. She explains that she wants to learn, graduate, attend college and become a civil engineer; she is a true example of an American Dreamer.

“Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try and I want to try!”

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Dreamers Pledge

  • I pledge to live in the light because I will soon be able to live out of the shadows, in the United States of America, the country which I have adopted as my own.
  • I will strive to reach my maximum potential for I know that in me are deposited the hopes and dreams of my family and my community.
  • I understand that I will be held to a higher standard of behavior than others and I vow to carry out my personal life always exhibiting only exemplary comportment in my daily life.
  • I will only seek out the company of those who also walk in the light.
  • I will remain engaged to the plight of those who are forced to live in the shadows so that one day they too may walk out of the shadows.

Thank You For Protecting The Dream:

These are the protectors of the dream