When Jesus was five years old, he immigrated to the U.S. with his parents. Jesus’ parents were busy working and job hunting that he and his brother would spend a lot of time in after school care. Jesus felt alone most of the time. He was looking for people who shared his experiences, but felt isolated from the other kids at his school. He thought he had found a group of friends when he fell in with the local gang members that hung out near his school. But he was wrong, the gang members that he had thought were his new family abandoned him when he needed them the most. He knew he had made a huge mistake trusting them.
Jesus realized he had the power to change his life.
After that experience, Jesus worked hard to transform himself into a better student. He worked hard, earned top grades and started winning awards. He found a new family that was always there for him, when he joined the soccer team. Once his parents both found employment, he felt a sense of stability return. Even with his life changing course for the better, and his future looking bright he still felt his outlook was very limited.
Without his citizenship, Jesus’ future was not totally secure. He wouldn’t be able to attend college. We wouldn’t be able to travel anywhere else in the world. Jesus knew from his parent’s experience that his ability to find would would be limited. Soon, he had a ray of hope. He had heard of an announcement of a new program for young people like him. He started to get as much information on DACA as possible. Many in his community were weary of the program. They felt that it was a trick to deport them. Jesus knew that this was his chance to change his life, and by applying for DACA he was able to finally get a driver’s license, apply for a job, and go to college. Lending Circles for DREAMers helped Jesus finance the application and get him closer to his dream: to study law and give back to the immigrant community using his own experience.
A new outlook on life.
Jesus now works to help other kids like him. He want’s them to know that they are not alone, and that they can achieve anything they want. Jesus recently gave a speech in front of 600 people at a CORO Leadership seminar and earned an internship with the City of San Francisco’s Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs.
“I want people to feel safe in a program like DACA,” he said. “When immigration reform goes through, I want them to take advantage of whatever programs that are out there. They are there to help us.”
Jesus has helped manage a Community Ambassadors program and conduct outreach to encourage youth to apply for DACA. He works to help other young people like him attend college, get drivers licences, and live the life they have been promised by the American dream. With the help of DACA and Mission Asset Fund’s Lending Circles for DREAMers anything is possible for Jesus.