My father passed away when I was four years old. It was around that same time that my little sister was diagnosed with autism. My mother was alone and overwhelmed, and I was just a little boy. How is a four year-old supposed to become the man of the house?
My mom worked as a maid at a local casino for 17 years. I was 16 when she was laid off. I knew that meant I had to get a job – several jobs – to help with rent and bills. I worked nights as a dishwasher at a Mexican restaurant and spent my weekends working as a banquet server at the Fairmont Hotel. Every two weeks, I gave my paycheck to my mom. She took my money reluctantly saying, “Why are you giving me your money? You need it for college!” Even in our darker moments, she always believed that I was college bound.
The pressures of school, work, and family were stressful, but Breakthrough taught me how to balance it all and kept me focused and motivated. Now, as a first-year college student, I’m thankful. I already know what hard work feels like, and I know how to overcome real struggles to achieve my goals.
I’m living my dream because of Breakthrough’s belief in me. And I’m proud to set the best example for every student who follows in my footsteps, and who proudly proclaims I AM COLLEGE BOUND.