In my last guest post for the Huffington Post, "President's New Immigration Policy Opens the Door to Shape Future Latino Leaders," I wrote about how we at ALPFA feel that the White House opened the doors to work with ALL young Latino students and young professionals when it announced that it will end deportations for undocumented immigrants that were brought to the U.S. as adolescents. As I stated, we feel that it is a step in the right direction in helping to usher in new Latino leaders and connect them to opportunities in the workforce so that the economy benefits.
Ultimately, we believe that everyone deserves a shot at achieving the American Dream. We know about many stories of young people who are working very hard to achieve the dream of getting a wonderful education, and finding great job or being an entrepreneur. It's the American way.
I wanted to highlight one of these particular stories of hope and achievement.
Let me introduce you to the Corn siblings from our ALPFA Las Vegas chapter: Herlinda, Heriberto, Edith, and Mayra; all proud ALPFA members, with Herlinda, Edith, and Mayra serving as Chapter Board of Directors. Edith applied for a scholarship through the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, but was not a selected recipient. However, she was given a free one-year student membership to ALPFA. Impressed, Las Vegas Chapter President, Felicia Ortiz, reached out to Edith and set up a meeting. Soon all four of these young folks were attending events, meetings, and assuming leadership roles.
The Corn sibling's parents were both born in Chihuahua, Mexico. They came to the United States in their youth because of the opportunities they felt they would never have in Mexico. They had to face the challenge of learning a completely new language and living in an entirely new culture. No matter how challenging the two worlds they were living in became, they feel they have always been proud to raise their family in the United States.
Has Mayra ever asked her parents about the sacrifices they had to make so that their children could lead a better life in this country? What she feels says a great deal about the strength and support the siblings received from them, and how this directly made an impact in their lives and their success.
"My parents feel they haven't sacrificed anything," says Mayra. "However, we know that everything we have done has only been possible through them and their example. Our parents began their family at a very young age, and it made them mature very fast. Many of the sacrifices made were financial. Growing up in a family of six means finances were very tight. Our mom is a homemaker and dad was a construction worker and neither ever took a day off, no matter what. When it came time for us to go to college, things got even tighter. There was a period of time where all four kids were in college; let's just say it was tough. Nevertheless, our parents have never said "NO" to us when it comes to our schooling and careers. Even to this day, they always put their children first, and still continue to sacrifice their time and energy to support us. It is still near impossible for us to convince them to think of themselves. The next goal is to send them off to travel the world without the kids. We think it's time for 30+ years of sacrifice to pay off!"
And pay off it has! Herlinda Corn holds Bachelor's degree in Psychology and works as in Accounts Receivable Manager for a private medical practice. Heriberto Corn Jr. is a college student working towards his Associate's degree in Business Administration. Edith Corn holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Management with a Minor in Information Systems. She was hired by Cluster Consulting (owned by Felicia Ortiz) and she is working and developing professionally in her chosen field. Mayra Corn holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and works as a Children's Library Assistant.
I really enjoy hearing about these stories, and knowing that we and many other organizations out there are able to provide the support, assistance and encouragement that so many of these young people need.
These young people are exactly what this country needs in these times of changes and challenges, and we are proud to be behind them all the way.
Please find out more about ALPFA at www.alpfa.org