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The world is full of people who will take a glance at me, hear my accent, and assume they know who I am or mark me as an “illegal immigrant,” as if that is all I am. Luckily, I have the strength to know who I am. I am a strong woman who has overcome a great deal in my life. I am a survivor who has endured great losses and sorrow. I am an intelligent student mastering a second language and I am grateful for all the opportunities and safety that this country and that my new family have given me.

Growing up in Nicaragua was very dangerous. My family struggled. Life was difficult and many terrible things happened. When I felt old enough, I took the risk and fled because I had nothing to lose. I decided to come to the United States on my own looking for hope and new opportunities to start a new life, away from danger. I am still processing my experiences and healing, so it is difficult to share details. After two years of living in a government program, I was thankfully given asylum. A family in the Reformed Church in America welcomed me into their home and their hearts. Today, I have new goals and challenges.

When I first started school in the United States, everything was new and very different.  The classes were more advanced and I didn’t know much English. I struggled; everything was difficult for me. I basically didn’t understand anything. I sat in the class and wouldn’t care. I was angry, frustrated, and my mind was blank. For a long period of time, I was hurting and didn’t feel good about myself. I was battling a mental crisis. I was numb to emotion and my mind was constantly replaying all the bad and negative things that happened to me. There were moments where all I would think was that I would rather die than keep falling apart. Continuing my education was far from my mind, but with the help of my new family and friends, over time I began to feel better. I was more confident. I wanted to try new things and not give up! Last year, my junior year, was interesting and different. COVID-19 presented new challenges. It was difficult because I didn’t have others to help and we were all isolated, but it had some positive things, too. I became more independent, I learned how to advocate for myself and feel confident in asking questions in class. I attended all my classes, studied, and asked for additional help. It was very hard to get where I am today and, because of this, I don’t want to stop enjoying who I am now. I am so grateful for my new family, for the love and support they give me, for having opened the doors and always believing in me. I am

in a place where everything feels right, my heart is calm, my thoughts are positive, my vision is clear, and I have to be strong for myself.

This is my senior year and I’m excited because this will be a good year! I want to do everything right and I will try to improve my grades. I will enjoy this last year with family and friends as I prepare for the challenges ahead.

I am ready and eager to further my education and just want to keep going and never look back!

Welcome—Thousands of unaccompanied migrant children arrive in the United States and Canada every year without a parent or guardian traveling with them to protect them and provide care and comfort. What difference could you make in the life of an unaccompanied child if you became their caretaker and embraced them as part of your family—even if it’s for a short time before they can be unified with an approved sponsor or family member? Consider reaching out to your local refugee resettlement or immigration agency for more information.

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We believe there is a clear biblical mandate to care for people on the move, including those who are involuntarily or forcibly displaced from their homes and are seeking refuge. Will you join us?