Thanksgiving Day in 1991, my father lost his battle with cancer. I held his hand as he drew his last breath. I was 12 years old. This left my disabled mother to raise my brother and I alone. We lived in South-Central Los Angeles and were undocumented at the time. Through the grace of God and the love of family we had places to live and food to eat.
I had my moments of rebellion, but I realized that I had to grow up really fast. Throughout high school my mother was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes. When she was home I would care for her and when she was in nursing homes, I would take three buses to visit. I found hope and love through extracurricular activities, including Colors United, a preforming arts program that introduced me to the world of filmmaking. Graduating with high honors and a 3.98 GPA in 1998, I received the Beat the Odds® Scholarship from Children’s Defense Fund-California. See some pics from my Beat the Odds year below.
A new chapter in my life began the night of the gala with the powerful and passionate roar of Marian Wright Edelman’s speech. She lit a new fire in my heart. From that day on I have challenged myself to make a difference – every day asking myself how I can make a difference in this world, in the lives of others, for children like myself. It brings me joy to know that I remain part of an organization that inspires and brings hope to the young people of California and the US. C
Today, I ask you to join me by supporting the Children’s Defense Fund – California and our 20 years of working on behalf of CA children. Your donation makes a difference.