Who am I?

I am a first generation American, fighting to make a change. You will always see me smiling behind a camera, dancing, or simply being with the people I love the most. I absolutely love being surrounded by people and children, I love helping others and although for some it maybe seem like I am going out of my way, it makes me happy to be able to create a difference in someone's life. Although it may not have seemed so obvious during the semester, I'm the type of person you will always see smiling and being joyful no matter what is going on in her life. I believe a smile is contagious and it is able to make some else's day just a little brighter. I can fall 100 times and still get up and fight for what I want.

I love animals especially my dog, Taffy, he is literally like my child and acts like one. I was born in Mission Viejo, California but I love the fields, horses and country side. I am a country girl at heart, I love to be adventurous and explore unknown roads.

“So kind, so genuine, you are the physical form of an angel on Earth”
“Your smile brightens my day. Love your attitude and bubbliness. So fun to be around.”
"You inspire me in every way & I look up to you.Thank you for just being you, always be you, don't ever change that strong humble beautiful soul. I love you with all my heart."

My Family

God blessed me with two amazing parents, Cosme Hernandez and Marisol Sanchez, and one amazing little brother, Alexis Hernandez. Both of my parents were born in Cuernavaca, Morelos where they fell in love and got married.

In the year 1990, my parents immigrated to the United States, the country of opportunities to better their lives and go after the “American Dream.” They made several attempts to cross, some of which put their lives at risk , they were put inside the train engine, they had to walk several days through the mountains, there were times when they had nothing to drink or eat but they didn’t give up. I am blessed and lucky that the cross over for my parents, the multiple times that they did it, they didn't loose their lives. When I was little I use to cry every time my parents shared their stories of their crossing. Now I use those stories to remind me how blessed I am and it gives me the courage to make a change in my family.

If it wasn't for them and their bravery I wouldn’t be who I am today. Knowing how much sacrifice has gone into so my brother and I are able to pursue an education, being able to go out and not be afraid one day your parents will get deported. All that plays a role in who I am today. When I see my parents, when I see their hands, it makes me emotional. The bravery, the strength and the belief they have carried with them throughout the years just wanting a better future for their families, is what inspires me to keep going. They came to this country not know how to speak English and yet they have managed to succeed. Although they don't have the best jobs in the world but they work hard, day and night to be able to provide my brother and me with an education, something they were denied. They give me the courage to get up every morning and give it my best because I want to make them proud and I want to make a change.

I had to start working at a young age to help my parents and to be able to pay for my needs at the same time I was going to school. There was a point in my life where I was working 4 jobs and going to school full-time which made be value education, my parents and opportunities so much more. I don't like to settle in a job, I push myself and work myself up. I have been an assistant manager at two of my jobs and in my last one I was an Assistant Administrator at the community college I attended. My strength, work ethic and ambition comes from my parents, that will and bravery to do what ever it takes runs through me.

I have learned throughout the years how important it is be open for anything life throws at you. In my job experiences, I have learned things don't just get handed to you, you have to work hard to get yourself to where you want to be. Along the way you are going to find people with many different beliefs and work ethics, you have to be able to respect their views and be willing to always learn.

My Brother

I honestly can't imagine what life would be without my brother. He brings out the best in me and although he is younger than me, he pushes and motivates me to go after my dreams.

"Push yourself to the limits but remember to have fun along your journey. Break that chair in our family and make us proud. Love you sister!"

Arizona

When I was about 10 years, we moved to Glendale, Arizona where my parents bought a house and a restaurant. It was right when 9/11 happened and everything just started going downhill, my parents soon tapped out of our savings, the restaurant wasn't doing to well and we were about to loose our house. All we had left were $200, so we got everything we needed and got on the road to to San Juan Capistrano, California. We went to live with my aunt where all four of us and my cousins had to sleep in one bedroom. It was a rough time but through hard work my family was able to overcome those obstacles. Throughout those rough years I learned to become independent. I worked really hard to be a role model and made sure to playoff what was happening so my little brother didn't have anything to worry about. This experience taught me life was no straight road, there would be detours, curves and some rough lanes but you just have to keep going. My parents taught us to never give up, with hard work and dedication everything is possible.

Traveling

I've been very blessed to have the opportunity to travel throughout different countries. When I graduated in 2010, I did a trip to Amsterdam, Paris, London and Dublin. While I was in community college, I did a semester abroad in Spain. Traveling around the world, including being able to visit the town my parents are from has been eye-opening. I have learned about different cultures, traditions and people making me appreciative of the opportunities I have. I have also been able to learn about others and the stories they have to share.

My 21st Birthday

Turning 21 was the something I had been waiting for so anxiously but not because I could legally drink. Turning 21 meant I could petition for my parents to become U.S. residents. It meant my nightmare of coming home one day and not finding my parents was over. I am blessed the process went smoothly, within 9 months my parents had their green card. On my 22nd birthday, my parents flew to Mexico and saw their families for the first time after 15 years.

Life is short, live it to the fullest!

Santa Monica, California- July 2015

December 7, 2013, a day I will never forget. I never imaged myself going through the death of someone I loved dearly, I thought this only existed in movies but it doesn't. That morning I received a call from my cousin telling me Martin had died in a car accident but somehow my brain didn't process it until an hour later. In fact, I don't think it finally hit me until I had to say my last goodbye on the day of his funeral.

This experience changed my life, the way I live and the way I think. I use to be the type of person that would go out, party and not care what could happen. It wasn't until then that I realized I needed to change the way I was living, I needed to make better choices. Although I get criticized a lot by people around me, since Martin's death living life to the fullest for me hasn't meant going out and getting wasted. Living life for me has been helping others, traveling, enjoying the little things in life, pursuing a higher education, spending time with my loved ones and taking chances into the unknown. I became a stronger person and learned to appreciate life more.

"In the blink of an eye everything can change. So forgive often and love with all your heart. Take no one for granted for you never know what may happen tomorrow."

Junior Foundation Charities

For the past three years I have been part of a youth group that works with Junior Foundation Charities. Where we help children diagnosed with cancer fight their disease as well as make their wishes come true.

It was about two years ago when I met Christian, a warrior fighting against cancer. It was his birthday and he was two days away from a risky surgery. My family and friends and I threw Christian a surprise party and we even choreographed a Mario Brothers dance for him. We wanted to create a day full of joy and happiness that he could remember and hopefully make him forget all the pain for just a few hours.

As we danced, words cannot explain the facial expression on Christian’s face; he was both surprised and completely happy. That’s when I realized you can touch someone’s heart by a simple act which is worth way more than if you would have bought them something materialistic. Indeed, since meeting Christian, I have tried putting myself in his and his parents’ shoes and realized how blessed I am. It made me reflect upon my life, making me realize how the smallest act of kindness, even a smile, could make a huge difference in someone’s life. From that day, at Christian’s party, my perspective of the world and how I lived, thought and acted changed. Christian changed my life. To this day, I practice being compassionate because we are all fighting our own battles and sometimes a smile, hug or kind act can change someone’s day.

Anaheim, California- Miss Photogenic & Miss Mejor Rostro

To make a change and create an impact you have to be aware, have the courage to speak up and do something about it. On June 14, 2015, I participated in a mini beauty pageant that was used to fundraise money for children with cancer. In this beauty pageant, we had to create a dress using all recyclable material and present on the topic of HIV, teen pregnancy, being green or drinking and driving. Growing up, I didn’t know much about the LGBT community. In community college, however, I met my friend who was gay and learned about everything he had gone through. I later found out my cousin was gay and how he was afraid to come out because he had been told society viewed him as someone who had a disease. I later learned about the suicide statistics among the LGBT community and it hurt me to know that teenagers were committing suicide because as a society we couldn’t accept them for who they were. That’s when I decided to make my beauty pageant speech on the LGBT community and delivered a message stating, “It does not matter what color, race or sexual orientation you are, we are all the same and no one should ever have to hide behind a mask so others can accept them! You are unique so love yourself just the way you are because we all deserve the same respect!” Even though I knew there would be people who disagreed with me, I wanted people to hear what I had to say, that people should be given equal respect regardless of their skin color, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

Saddleback Community College

Saddleback Community College- Spring 2015

Throughout school, getting A's was extremely important for me. I was always on the honor roll, student of the month and maintained a 4.0 GPA. When I finished middle school, I was awarded by President George W. Bush for having a 4.0 GPA throughout middle school. I transferred from Saddleback Community College where I graduated with an Associates Degree in Spanish.

University of San Diego

USD was the only university that believed in me and opened it's arms to me. Through my journey here at USD I have been able to find myself, strengthen my relationship with God and see the world from a different perspective.

Tijuana Day Trip

USD University Ministry: Tijuana Day Trip 15'

Presea General Emiliano Zapata Salazar al Merito Humanitario y Alturista

December 27, 2015- Cuernavaca, Mexico

On December 1, 2015, I was awarded, “Presea General Emiliano Zapata Salazar al Merito Humanitario y Alturista,” by the state government of Morelos, Mexico. I was awarded this silver metal for being an altruist throughout my life time at a young age. They discovered me through my uncle and social media where I shared videos, pictures and events I was involved in. I was not able to attend the ceremony where all the reporters and government were but my dad and brother went in my representation and received my metal for me. After arriving to Mexico, I was asked to give a speech and I was interviewed by some news reporters.

Leadership

Residential Assistant

Mission Apartments 2016-2017

Transferring to USD was not an easy transition. When I first walked into USD, I walked in half empty, lost and not sure I belonged here. I faced a number of barriers that caused my first semester to be one of the most challenging chapters of my junior year. I struggled with classes, financial aide and fitting in. I was at one of the most prestigious Business Schools in California pursing a dream, the American Dream, yet I was told, “If you can’t afford this institution then why did you accept.” I still remember that afternoon, I went back to my hall, called my parents and told them I was coming home and maybe I’d give college another shot next year. Luckily, I didn’t go home. I stayed and was determined to pursue my dream no matter what it took. I ended up finding resources, scholarships and programs on campus that have helped me, and that’s when I decided to become a Residential Assistant because I didn’t want residents to feel the way I did or go through everything I had to go through. Overall, I am doing by best to create an inclusive community that serves as a home away from home for my residents.

Founders Chapel Choir Student Director

"FCC, my home away from home!"

I decided to apply for Student Director this year because being in choir made me find my home away from home. It the place where I felt the most loved and where I could just me be. The student directors last year made me feel welcomed and were always there to remind us we were never alone. For me, personally FCC was the sound that saved and sent me free and I wanted others to feel the same way. I wanted freshman and transfers to feel loved, welcomed and part of this wonderful community.

Global Social Entrepreneurship

I want to say thank you for a wonderful semester! I really enjoyed the class and I am so happy I decided to stay in your class and drop my other one. Although much of my past has shaped who I am today, this project helped me remember a lot of things I had forgot about. Sometimes we get so caught up in life and school that we forget to do more of the things we love and make us happy. As I reflected back and looked through pictures I found myself feeling so many emotions. I had thousands of memories and stories coming back. In fact, I found myself laughing and smiling for no reason just being able to walk down memory lane.

Not to sound self-centered if that would be the word but I am impressed with how much I have actually been able to do and accomplish. I know I doubted myself a lot making myself believe I was behind everyone and hadn’t done much with my life. I felt old and at one point I was embarrassed to say I was 24 and barley going to graduate from USD. But honestly, I'm glad things happened the way they did in my life. I am more mature and I appreciate life a lot more than before. I can definitely say I have lived and done many of the things I have ever wanted. Looking back there’s a lot I have done, I feel proud of myself and who I have become. There is definitely a ton of space for growth and success and hope to be able to accomplish so much more.

This class taught me that anything is possible. Through guest speakers I learned there is no bad idea, one just has to have the passion to want to make a change. I also learned that fear is the first step to becoming an entrepreneur, looks like I am just a step closer.

One day...

"The journey of life is not meant to be feared or planned, it is meant to be travelled and enjoyed."

Although, I am not exactly sure what the future holds for me, I know I will end up right where I need to be. I hope to get married, have two kids and be able to travel around the world. My dream is to be able to give back not just to the communities that built me but especially to my parents. I hope to be able to buy them a house of their own and be able to give them the gift to travel around the world one day.

I have many projects in mind which I know one day, I will be able to make them a reality. I know that being a change maker will be a huge part of me in the future. I plan to create an auditorium in the town where my parents are from. My goal is to create jobs and events that will help people especially teenagers from getting into trouble. Hopefully, this will create revenue to be able to provide better schools, roads and be able to help people better their living situations. I've had a vision for a long time now and I know I will make it a reality soon. After Martin's death I had a hard time trying to find happiness in the middle of so much pain until l joined dance. Since then I realized dance was an outage not just for me but for many others. So I want to be able to create a center that will combine music, dance, art and horses. This will be a center for everyone but especially for the lower income pyramid because I know how expensive all this can be. I don't want money to be an obstacle for teenagers and this should also help keep them busy so they don't end up on a bad road.

Honestly, theres is so much I want to do and I hope that one day I am able to accomplish everything. Like the story we read about in class, I want to be able to help the Latino community pursue a higher education. As a first generation student I can empathize with many of those students and I know how lost one can get not knowing what path you are suppose to take. I also know I want to be able to create some change in the lives of children with diagnosed cancer and disabilities. Although my disabilities are very different from many, I know how frustrating it can be to want to do something and think you can't. So I want to be able to encourage others and give them the tools they need to be able to succeed in life. For now I plan to live life and enjoy the journey for I don't know where i'll be tomorrow.

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