javier"My childhood memories were mostly always cold. We lived in a small house with only one room and a kitchen. We would always lay together for warmth in the mid-December cold. I remember hearing the owls sing to the lonely moon and see the coldness in our breath while our skins crumbled from the cold temperature.

Another memory I have is during hurricane season in Texas where we lived. There was a storm that hit us hard but luckily we had family nearby, and we could withstand the damage of the storm. The streets were rushing with harsh waters. After it was over, we went back to our house and found out our roof was blown off, so we slept without a roof for many weeks.

My family is a very happy and joyful group. We have been through so much that we are very open with one another. My parents are both from small towns outside of Nuevo Leon, Mexico. They came to the states as young adults, both around the age of 16. After they got married they had five children. I was the oldest with two younger brothers and two younger sisters. My parents came here to give us what they could never have: a good education, good values, and a life where we could survive and strive for greatness. My mom only made it to a 6th grade education and my dad had an 11th grade education because they had to start working in the agricultural fields. My mom was born with three kidneys with one twisting around the other and torturing her from the inside, so she had to get it removed. At the same time that my mother had surgery, my dad suffered from tuberculosis in his bones and nearly died on us twice from infection. On top of this disease that he still suffers from to this day, he is missing 6 disks in his lower back and has numerous injuries. After their slow recoveries, they have continued working and striving to move up in life.

Javy2Because of my parent’s health issues along with the long-hours they both worked in the fields, I had to be a third parent for my younger siblings. At an age when I should have been enjoying playing with my friends and running around with the neighborhood kids, I had to look after my four younger siblings, which included, cooking, cleaning and making sure they had everything for the day, while my parents both worked full time jobs. I would be the first one up in the morning and the last one to fall asleep. Besides all the household work, I also had schoolwork. While my parents recovered from their illnesses I had to make sure I picked up their medication, make sure they were in good health, and I have been taking care of them to this day.

We have come a long way and now it is paying off.

Javy1The “I Have A Dream” Foundation of Boulder County sponsored me when I was 8 years of age. I did not understand exactly what the organization was at that time, just that it was an opportunity for the chance at a better future. As the years passed, I started to realize how blessed I was to have an awesome supporting cast around me helping me get closer to my dream, but at the same time, giving me a chance to also enjoy being a kid by having fun on field trips and activities they organized. They helped me with tutoring, job shadowing, and even took me on college tours. They checked on my grades and made sure that I was setting the bar for education high at all times. Dreamers not only helped me with my education but also gave me the opportunity to meet new people and have life-lasting bonds with them.

Despite having to take on all the responsibilities at the age of 11, my persistence drove me to become the person I am today, to never give up and do what I have to do to survive. Time management and maturing have been my biggest challenge in life so far. Overcoming these challenges has made me stronger in many ways. I am a wiser person because of my situation. I know what to expect when I have kids of my own. And I know I do not want the same life for my children, so I strive to succeed in everything I do. My situation has given me more determination to achieve my goals and my life purpose. These challenges have helped me become a successful person, because I have been through the bad times in life. Now I am ready for the good times, and I have the power to determine the outcome of my life.

JavyI credit the “I Have A Dream” Foundation for affecting my life in the most positive way possible. During all of these struggles, ever since I was 8 years old, the “I Have A Dream” program director, Rigo Tostado, my class sponsors, Debbie and Steve, and the AmeriCorps members have been there for me, helping keep me out of trouble and focused, surrounding me with great role models, and giving me the motivation to accomplish my dreams.

Statistics state that having parents who didn’t graduate from middle school or high school meant that my chances were slim to graduate from high school and make it to college. I am proud to stand before you and say that I made it. I graduated from Niwot High School in 2011 and I am well on my way to graduate college in the near future. I plan to graduate from CU Boulder with a major in Bio-Chemistry. My life purpose is to serve everyone, but especially Mexican immigrants and Mexican-American families and children who are physically ill or poor and do not have access to health care. I want to help get them the medication they need, and I also want to influence and impact the families by teaching them the educational tools they need to stay healthy. Again, I want to thank my “I Have A Dream” family for everything!