VALTER ANTONIO DA SILVA
June 17, 2017
SIOBHAN ‘RUBY’ MCCONNELL
June 25, 2017

THELMA BARONE

“As a little girl, I wanted to help children who were victims of war and other types of abuse. I decided I would go to a place from where my voice could be heard and my actions would make the greatest difference in the world. I became aware that there was a great country right next to my state of Sonora, Mexico–a place that seemed to influence all other places on Earth, so I decided that would be the place where I would make my home.

As I grew up and began to work, my resolve was strengthened by the frustrations I experienced due to the lack of opportunities for an impoverished young girl like myself. I dreamt of going to college so I could get a better job to help my family. I also wanted to make sure my children would have the opportunities I lacked growing up.

I had heard of famous universities in the US, such as UCLA and decided that was where I would attend. Following my dream, I arrived in the US at the age of 21, alone, unable to speak English and completely unfamiliar with US culture. It took years of struggle and sacrifice until I finally graduated from UCLA. I then worked for many years as an advocate for children and families providing direct service and helping organizations see the benefits and opportunities created by the presence of immigrants in our community.

I realized long ago that building a world where children are safe and loved requires everyone’s participation. It means paying close attention to the actions of our leaders, making sure that they are promoting peace and justice. I see a bright future in the eyes of my own children and the new generation; I marvel every day at their contributions to society, especially in the areas of global connectedness and equality. As an immigrant, I am always optimistic. Love and optimism is what drives us as we migrate seeking a better life for our families. Even in dark times, our children provide the reason to keep moving forward and I have confidence that with their help, a very bright future lies just ahead.”

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