I was born in San Diego, California; I moved to Celaya in Guanajuato, Mexico after I was one month old, where I spent the next 14 years of my life. My family faced problems: socially and economically. My mother and father fought a lot and wanted to part ways. But, due to their economic statuses, they were unable to live separately from each other, creating deeper tensions in our home.
After 14 years of marriage, my parents got divorced. Leaving me with the hardest decision I had to make. I had to choose between my mother, who suffered from alcoholism, and my father, a person whom has always inspired me, in front a judge. I chose my father because of how great of a man he is, and because of all he had given us. My mother was different, she loved money too much, that sometimes forgot what was important in life.
My brother and I ended up moving to San Diego, California. With the effort of my father, we were placed at my aunt’s and uncle’s house, a crowded home. My aunt runs a daycare in her house. There were at least 10 people in the house daily, including my aunt, uncle, five cousins, their friends, and the daycare children. My uncle and aunt were unable to take care of me because they were working all the time. They also weren’t too fond of me, but that’s when I found a refuge in my local 24 Hour Fitness. The gym was a place where I could go and forget about my problems, clear my mind, and think. I took me about 45 minutes there and back, but it helped me, not only physically, but also mentally.
Once I started school I studied like crazy, so I could learn English as fast as possible. Prior to coming back to San Diego, I did not know any English, but after a year of great effort and persistence I was able to pass all my English Second Language (ESL) classes. Most people take about two years, but I was able to finish in one. I tried to speak as much as I could, even though people made fun of my accent, and my Spanish-speaking friends made me feel uncomfortable, calling me “gringo”.
I always like to challenge myself and set challenges that will help get me out of my comfort zone. For example, joining speech and debate club was really challenging because I spoke very little English, but I wanted to join anyways to improve my English and improve myself as a student. I do not like when people say that something is impossible, because everything is possible in life. Nothing is easy in this life, but that doesn’t make it impossible.
After a year of living with my uncle and aunt, they told my father that they could not house my brother and I anymore, but I greatly appreciated them for taking us in. My father, brother, and I found an apartment that was cheap and close to the school after months of searching. We had one room, two beds, and that was it. Money was tight. My father and my mother both lived in Mexico while my brother and I lived in an apartment, alone. Living alone had a lot of responsibilities, like cleaning, cooking, getting food from the grocery store, and many other needs. I was forced to grow up faster than many peers. I do not have the same advantages that many teenagers have with their parents helping them, like giving me rides, packing my lunch, giving advice, but I have always been thankful for what I have and have made the best of it.
These obstacles, despite their difficulties, helped me become the individual that I am. I went from an immigrant who spoke no English, to a speech and debate state qualifier for two consecutive years who’s ranked number four in Southern California in dual interpretation, the top tennis player in my school, and founder of a new club at school.
All this may sound good, but there’s someone behind this success. This someone is “A Bridge for Kids”, an organization with great people that helped me through my journey. When I thought I wasn’t good enough, I had the great pleasure to meet the co-founder (Michael Nance) of this organization. He gave me hope; he inspired me to keep doing well. ABFK helped me financially, by getting me a sponsorship of two thousand dollars. This allowed me to purchase things that I would never had been able to. So thanks to ABFK I was able to win a lot of tennis matches, by helping me buy a tennis racquet. ABFK allowed me to gain a lot more knowledge, which that helped me in speech and debate, as well as in daily life by being able to buy books. I can say that thanks to ABFK I was able to transport myself by way of trolley pass. There’s a lot of things that ABFK helped me with so I really want to recognize this amazing organization that has helped me, and many other teenagers.