When you participate in Mi Casa’s programs, you become part of the Mi Casa familia and that means Mi Casa is there for you throughout your lifetime at all points of your life, supporting you, encouraging you, and helping you achieve your vision of success.
My journey with Mi Casa Resource Center began in 2008 at Lake Middle School. I was young and just wanted to attend the cool afterschool program my brother told me about. At this point I had no idea how impactful Mi Casa would be in my life.
When I moved to high school, I was really happy to see familiar faces from the Mi Casa programs at Lake. Having this resource there to support me in high school made the transition much easier. Each year of high school I participated in everything Mi Casa had to offer: I gained leadership skills as a mentor to middle school students; I learned about music; and I volunteered, which taught me the importance of giving back to my community. I even got to go paintballing! To some, these experiences and opportunities might seem insignificant, but for me and my family these experiences would not have been accessible if it weren’t for Mi Casa.
As I started my first year of college, I was able to participate in a program called “All Vikings Aboard” that helped me transition from high school to college and even helped my parents understand what college really is. My parents only got an elementary school education and I was the first in my family to attend college. Having one of their kids go to college was a whole new world for all of us. Tuition, majors, minors, scholarships… These words were all a foreign language to them. Literally. Because of this program and the support we received from Mi Casa my parents were able to understand what all of that was and they got to see me graduate from high school and start my first year of college.
Getting into college wasn’t the only challenge I faced – paying for it was an even greater challenge. As an undocumented immigrant, it didn’t matter how well I did in high school – financial aid was denied to me on many different platforms because of my status. Mi Casa understood my situation and helped me apply for a scholarship that didn’t take my legal status into consideration, helping to pay for my first year of college.
I knew that I would have to work to pay for college and, once again, Mi Casa was there to help. Having received DACA status, I got my first job my junior year in high school as a Youth Coordinator at Mi Casa. I was able to work at Lake Middle School as a facilitator of the afterschool program I was once a part of.
All throughout high school I planned to go into computer science. I had written all of my college essays and applications about going into this career field. Until one day I had a moment of reflection about all of the programs I had participated with Mi Casa and what the organization had really done for me. Participating in Mi Casa’s programs made me into a well-rounded, involved young person. It gave me fun and also educational experiences that I couldn’t have obtained on my own. I met adults that were great role models for me who helped me strive for more in my education and in my daily life. It was this sudden realization that made me choose to change my career path and dedicate my life to working in the nonprofit sector. I want to help others and have an impact on the lives of young people just as Mi Casa’s staff did for me.
I am now in my third year of a Human Services Nonprofit Studies program at Metropolitan State University. And now, after four years as a part-time staff member, I was just hired as a full-time employee by Mi Casa Resource Center as the Youth Programs Specialist.
Thanks to the support and guidance I received from Mi Casa, I found my career path. There is nothing I am more passionate about than the work Mi Casa is doing and my dream is to one day become the CEO of Mi Casa Resource Center.