Teen Activist Hopes to “Make DREAMs Reality” for Undocumented High School Seniors

by Diana Denza

It’s no secret that undocumented young people have been at the forefront in the fight for the Dream Act. The New York Times has called these immigrants “highly visible and vocal activists” unafraid to demand a rightful place in the country they have called home for most of their lives.

For the past decade, Congress has been stalling on the act, which would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who meet various requirements. The Obama administration recently decided to offer temporary reprieve to the estimated hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children under the age of 16.

But for 18-year-old Audrey Vivar, whose mother was born in Mexico, we must take action if we want to make the Dream Act a reality. That’s why the New Tech Manor High School valedictorian launched a scholarship program called Make DREAMs Reality for undocumented Manor school district seniors in financial need.

“Where I was born (El Paso), just a few miles north of the US-Mexico border, was the only difference between me and my friends who are undocumented,” Vivar explained to reporters at Latina Lista.

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What started as a senior project transformed into a full-fledged campaign with fundraising bracelets and a Facebook page, which she regularly updates with news affecting undocumented immigrant students.

Latina Lista reports that this teen go-getter sold 200 bracelets and set up a committee that awarded Manor High School student Nelly Reyna a $500 college scholarship.

According to Statesman, a local Austin news outlet, Reyna arrived in this country from Mexico when she was three years old. She survived the dangerous passage undetected by pretending to be a stranger’s child. Today, her family resides in a trailer in Manor.

Reyna applied for the scholarship on a website Vivar created when not tackling end-of-year projects.

Fittingly, applicants were asked to answer the questions, “What is your dream?” and “What educational challenges have you or your family faced?”  –no Social Security number needed. According to the law in Texas, where Vivar resides, undocumented students are barred from obtaining federal financial aid and many types of scholarships.

To keep the program alive for the upcoming school year, Vivar is accepting donations. Click here to help a deserving undocumented high school senior live the dream. 

(Images via Make DREAMs Reality and Statesman)

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