I came to the United States from my home country of El Salvador 6 years ago, at the age of 14. 

After some turmoil traveling through Mexico, I arrived at the border. After being processed at the border I was put on a plane and sent to Florida. In Florida I connected with a case manager at an organization. The case manager knew of Ayuda and referred me to them. 

Once I arrived at Ayuda, I immediately felt supported. I worked with an attorney who spoke with me about my options and helped me apply for SIJS or Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. This gave me a work permit and status so that I could enroll in high school. 

One of the most challenging things about coming to the United States was that I came alone, and I could not speak English. School was challenging in the beginning, but I love to study. So, I worked hard to learn English and get good grades because my dream when I came to the U.S. was to go to a good university. 

When it was time to apply for colleges my attorney, Madeline, helped me apply for my green card. Because I only had a work permit through SIJS and not permanent residency, I was ineligible to apply to FASFA. I did not know how I would attend school without a loan. I received my green card in August 2020. 

Without the support of Madeline, my dreams would not have come true. My dream was to study at an American university, and she helped make that dream possible.  

I was accepted into several universities but decided to accept a full-ride merit scholarship at Bridgewater College in Virginia. This fall I will start college and plan to major in biochemistry and possibly business as well.  

Ayuda for me means a lifetime opportunity. Thanks to Madeline and her hard work, I was able to receive status and get into college on a full-ride scholarship. The support I received at Ayuda was life changing.

Please consider supporting Ayuda’s Brighter Futures campaign this summer so they can help other young adults like me get the support they need.

Give today – bit.ly/HHC-2022

Ayuda's Response to Busing of Migrants

Since April 2022, Ayuda has been working to help coordinate the humanitarian response as the governors of Texas and Arizona continue to send thousands of migrants on buses to Washington, D.C.

We are providing culturally and linguistically specific legal, social and language access services to newly arriving migrants. These services include case management and intake support, interpretation, as well as the provision of food, clothing, hygiene kits, prepaid cell phones, medical supplies, and paid shelter.

Our legal team is providing individualized legal orientations for migrants explaining the immigration system and helping them be aware of their rights and responsibilities.  

“Immigrants are first and foremost, human beings. They deserve respect and compassion, and Ayuda will continue to do what we do best – provide holistic support to those in need in our communities.” - Paula Fitzgerald, Executive Director

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