America Juarez-Maldonado, SAF Solidaridad intern
My typical day at SAF always starts my morning with ease. Every time I start my work or have SAF team meetings I get excited to see some of my mentees and other SOL interns. I open my laptop to start the day, and start planning or message the Levante students that I mentor to see what they need or to advise them. My typical day also varies over time – especially last year as I was advising high school seniors with college applications and scholarships or checking on them to see what else they needed.
In advising the students, I noticed a striving and strength in each of them. I have witnessed their first college submissions and I have heard of their first acceptances. Life certainly did its circle because in those same moments I felt like I was seeing my past self. Being a first-generation college student or graduating high school is a huge step! Half of the students are facing this question of – what will the next step after high school be? And facing the fear of not being accepted or other barriers that prevent students from seeking higher education.
I believe those questions are where the influence of injustice occurs. I tend to bring up this conversation of – what does it mean to be a first-generation student, why is this identity so important? And in reality, being first-generation means you are opening a path to the next-generation, you're defeating a stereotype, you're demonstrating resilience and independence, and using all the resources you can to continue to pursue your dream.
It is beautiful to see that the world, no matter how hard it seems, showcases the strengths individuals have in life. I am witnessing a change in front of me, and all around me.