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"I am not going to give up . . ."

nowhere in my American dream have I listed "giving up" as an option. Meet Berenice Oliva. Oasis ITOP student. Oasis Board of Directors Youth Representative. College Student. Community Leader. Dreamer.

It is Berenice's dreams, not only for herself, but for her community, that drive her. Last month, Conexión Américas recognized Berenice for her work to better our community by presenting her with the distinguished Orgullo Hispano (Hispanic Pride) Award. We're so proud of her!

In a recent letter, Berenice shared her story with us crediting the Deffered Action for childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy for allowing her to pursue her dreams. We wanted to share her letter with you.

As a DACA recipient, the news about DACA being rescinded was heartbreaking. I instantly became terrified. Thoughts about being sent back to a country I barely recognize came up and that really scared me. I fear that my dreams and goals may be cut short for being in the situation I did not ask to be placed in. I had feelings of loss for about two days after the news came out. After many prayers and conversations with friends and family, I was able to think clearly. I have accomplished so much through DACA, but also through my own efforts, so I will not let this bring me down. I will continue my studies and giving it my best to everything I do because my dreams are valuable. I am thankful for everyone who has and continues to support me and other DACA recipients. Something I'd like to say to any DACA recipient who is feeling lost at this time, is that it is okay. You are not overreacting, and yes your emotions are important, so please talk to someone if you need to. You are worthy! But most importantly, do not give up! I know things may seem harder now, but it is our time to shine, this is our time to show our strengths and our talent to succeed. Together we will get through this, together we are stronger.

It is estimated that Oasis Center serves approximately 150 young people who are DACA recipients.