Brought to the United States shortly after 9/11 at around age nine, Mary is a Dreamer from Peru. Initially, her father was the only one living and working in the United States, but Mary and her mother joined him in Garfield, New Jersey two years later.
“As an immigrant coming from another country to the States, Everything was new to me: the weather, the environment, the food, the people, especially the language,” she said in a radio interview for WBOI.
For her, DACA was a particular relief. It allowed her to complete an associate’s degree in criminal justice, and now to pursue a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership.
“Well, I was very excited when I heard the news that President Obama had made an executive action,” Mary said. “To me, I knew that at that point moving forward, it was going to change my life completely here in the States.”
Her background motivates her to want to help other immigrants. This is why she serves on the board for the Greater Fort Wayne Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Parkview Health, Whitington Homes & Family Services, and the Salvation Army.
“I’m doing this because it’s what I enjoy doing and because the community helped me when I needed them the most, during times where I going through a challenging phase,” she said. “That’s the reason why I’m doing the things I’m doing now with the community because it’s my way of saying thank you.”