My name is Chuche and I come from a humble background of honest and hard working parents. I immigrated to the U.S. when I was just two years old with my parents’ intention of a better way of life for my family. My parents have been working in the fields and packing houses since their arrival to fulfill their vision of seeing their children succeed. I’ve worked countless hours alongside them in the orchards, feeling the same pain of suffering through the harsh weather and working conditions that are in the San Joaquin Valley. My mother’s tears and agony after a day’s work along with my own experiences have changed my outlook of life. I’ve grown to appreciate my parent’s struggle, as well as my education. For those tears and for that pain I experienced on my body after a long day’s work, I will excel in my academic and personal goals. I stand for my family and together support each other to succeed in this country and make our life one of promise. In the winter, when jobs are mild because of the cold temperatures in the Valley, my family and I unite and work together in the Vineyards to prune the vines so we can make ends meet and provide for the rent and food. Unity is a force I see that can break all forces because within lies love which personally is all I need to fight for the struggle of obtaining a college education.
At the moment I am interested in becoming a teacher, a lawyer, a social activist, and or an ambassador to a nation. One thing’s for sure, I want to help people. Academically I am pursuing a double major in Chicano Studies and Public with a minor in French. My public health major with my Chicano studies major will be used to connect the Chicano and Hispanic communities to different cultures abroad. I want to use my degrees to connect the world together and further educate the people of the world about nations such as Mexico and other Latin American countries.
I will fight and support the movement of helping undocumented students reach their dreams. My education will see through my efforts to fight the boundaries that lie ahead. I am here to show my community and the world that we are capable of living a respectful life. We are not here to simply rob and destroy the American life as many blindly see, but to fight for the American dream in our lives. Even if I become a lawyer or an ambassador, I will always remain a teacher to teach to those that “Si se puede!” Life is chance, and I want to take the chance to educate society and the community that undocumented or not, every person is entitled a chance to succeed. I am here to fight and seek the opportunity to educate undocumented students that we also can succeed in this country.
I have had the chance of providing mentorship and leadership to my peers during high school through AVID tutoring, link crew, and captain positions in cross-country and track teams. I was an active member in Key Club and the French Club. Currently I am a member of Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education (R.I.S.E.) and an intern for RAZA Recruitment and Retention Center. R.I.S.E is an AB540 support group here in UC Berkeley. Our emphasis revolves around undocumented students providing them with scholarship information and the latest news about the Dream Act. I’m the representative of one of R.I.S.E.’s sub-committees taking charge of the support group: study nights, scholarships, etc. As an intern of RAZA we provide assistance, tutoring, and outreach workshops in what we think is beneficial for the Latino community success here at UC Berkeley. I also have accepted the role of a pen pal to a fifth grader in a Pen Pal Program sponsored by Mission Graduates which is a nonprofit organization that increases the number of k-12 students in San Francisco’s Mission District for preparation to attain a college education. In addition I am a H.Y.P.H.E.E (Helping Youth Pursue Higher Education Early) mentor for high school students. As well as an active member of the AB540 Project at Berkeley High School, helping undocumented students write their personal statements and scholarship applications. Even though I am just a first-year, I feel that my job as an active community member will always increase and make the best of me.
I have found myself coming across the situation of being undocumented. I am eligible for instate tuition but not for financial aid which puts me in a tougher dilemma in trying to find ways to provide for the cost of tuition, housing, and other expenses here at UC Berkeley. My parents don’t make enough money to fund my education since they have to also worry about my two younger siblings and my older brother who is currently attending California State University of Fresno, but my drive to attain a higher education has led me to search high and low for every opportunity to finance my dream of attending college. I have gone door to door selling candies, doing yard sales, asking friends and family for sponsorships, as well as collecting recyclable materials. Applying to scholarships is never-ending for me.
I’ve worked in a packinghouse this past summer because I needed to raise money to pay for Summer Bridge. I was a mandate, but because I did not want a rejection letter from UC Berkeley I worked hard to provide the funds for this very resourceful program, but I came short and had to use some of my first-year’s fall tuition money to fulfill the requirement. Now I am trying to make up what I lost to replace my tuition. I have a bumpy road ahead of me but my experiences in the fields, my perseverance and determination have maintained my drive to continue the tough road that lies ahead.