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July 7, 2014 |

2013 Bronx ASAP Leadership Team Member

I was offered a full scholarship to attend the school of my choice, but because I was undocumented, the offer was taken from me. My mother always told me, “Shoot for the moon so if you miss you’ll land among the stars.” The only way I could get there was by hard work, and so I worked hard in everything because I was determined to land on the moon. By the time I was in my senior year of high school I was in the top ten percent of my high school with a bright future ahead of me. I had always known I was different from everyone else in my graduating class, but it was not until it was time to apply to college that the true meaning of “different” manifested itself.


I contemplated what the point of shooting for anything was if I was always going to be nine digits inadequate. Shortly after thinking this I went to check my email only to find out that I had been rejected by all of my CUNY four-year college choices. CUNY was my last hope for going to school and they rejected me, too. I was crushed. Broken-hearted, I walked home in the rain, which mocked me as tears streamed down my face.  While waiting to cross the street I stared down at a puddle at my feet; the drops of rain distorted my reflection and in that moment I realized that I was utterly insignificant.


Disheartened by the news from the previous day, I glumly walked into the prison I once ran into with joy. My college advisor, who was also devastated by the news, received an email from a Mr. Javier Legasa who informed him that I qualified for ASAP and should contact him as soon as possible. When I was told about the email, I leaped for joy down the corridor of my school, as a wealth of worries dissipated from my shoulders. I did matter after all, and somewhere in CUNY there was a program called ASAP that was willing to give me the chance to go to school for free so I could keep on shooting for the moon.


Two years later I am proud to say that ASAP is the reason why I am graduating at the end of May with a current G.P.A. of 3.8. ASAP has given me the opportunity to go to school and do what I have always loved to do, get an education. I was not stigmatized for being an immigrant and my every academic need was catered to. I got my books for free and was provided with a monthly MetroCard to get me to and from classes. When I was struggling with a math class, ASAP ensured that I had tutors to help me succeed. Meeting with my advisor created the feeling of a mom away from home that kept me on track with my degree. If that wasn’t enough, the Career and Employment Specialist Ms. Betty Lecadre introduced me to a number of immigration programs, one of which helped me to become a permanent resident of the United States. If it wasn’t for ASAP, I simply wouldn’t have the plethora of opportunities that are now available to me.