Our Dream Achievers all share one thing in common – the determination to overcome poverty through education and hard work. Add our mentoring and community partnerships, and you have an equation for success. Here are a few of their stories….
Dora Sanchez has wanted to be a licensed cosmetologist for as long as she remembers. A Kingsville native, Dora recalls as a little girl always experimenting with her dolls’ hair. The oldest of four children, Dora lost her father at a young age and did what she could to help her mother, who worked 2-3 part-time jobs, with her three younger brothers. In high school, Dora would help her mom clean hotel rooms to do her share of providing for the family. After high school, Dora started cosmetology school but had to drop out after a few months due to financial struggles. She ultimately ended up working at Sally’s Beauty Supply Store but always had a strong desire to finish what she had started. In September, 2021, Dora applied with Dream Come True in hopes of finally reaching her dream of becoming a licensed cosmetologist.
Dora had about one more year of full-time schooling left at Bella Beauty College in Corpus Christi. According to Dora, her assigned Dream Come True Mentor, Christina Gonzalez, was “amazing.” Dora went on to say, “Christina helped me both professionally and personally. We were always reassessing my goals. Not only career goals but also family goals.”
Dora graduated from Bella Beauty College in September 2022 and began working at Just-A-Cut in Kingsville shortly after graduation. Dora states the owner of the salon is very supportive and even recently promoted her to assistant manager. Eventally, Dora says she would like to become a certified cosmetology instructor and own her own salon. Dora is a first-generation graduate and Dream Come True’s very first Trade School graduate.
Adolfo Aguilar began attending Texas A&M University Kingsville in the fall of 2018. Adolfo is a legal resident of the United States and arrived here in 2015 with very limited English speaking skills. Adolfo’s dream was to study civil engineering and reached out to Dream Come True Foundation in 2020 in hopes of finding a mentor to help him with not only his financial challenges but also to learn some basics of living in America. His mentor, Celanese engineer Sixto Almazan, was truly the perfect match for Adolfo having come from a very similar background. In addition, part of the DCTFST agreement with Adolfo was that we would support his efforts to become a US citizen if he did all the work required– a goal Adolfo was thrilled to do.
In May 2021, Adolfo graduated from TAMUK with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering and in January 2022 became a United States citizen. Sixto remained Adolfo’s mentor after graduation guiding him through the areas of personal finance, establishing credit, employment searches and evaluating employment opportunities. In January 2022, Adolfo started working at Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson San Antonio branch as a traffic engineer. Although he misses the small- town friendliness of Kingsville, he states he is slowly settling into a small apartment in San Antonio that is close enough to his office that he can walk. He’s also found a local church he likes and there is an older gentleman in his office who has basically taken Adolfo under his wing. Adolfo expressed his appreciation to Dream Come True in this way, “I am so grateful to The Dream Come True Foundation for helping me to learn to be an adult and becoming a US citizen. My mentor taught me about taxes, credit card use and credit scoring. His best advice to me was to save my money and spend it only when I have to. I didn’t fully appreciate those words until I moved and started my job in San Antonio.”
By the time Julio Menchaca graduated from High School in 2016, he was determined to be the first in his family to go to college. His family was never really financially stable and he just wanted to make things better for his family and for himself. Originally from Rio Grande City Texas, Julio moved to Kingsville to attend Texas A&M University-Kingsville to major in Range and Wildlife Management and minor in Plant and Soil Science. Julio states “As a teenager, I started working cattle and did a lot of hunting. I loved working with nature and that is what I took into consideration when declaring my major at TAMUK.” Julio managed to earn excellent grades despite attending school full time while working as many as two jobs. During his college years he was most proud of being accepted as an intern with the USDA’s Pathways Program for the Natural Resource Conservation Service Program.
Julio became a Dream Achiever because “a good support system like the mentors with Dream Come True Foundation could really help push me and encourage me to open new doors and give me that impactful guidance I need to reach my goal of graduating from college.” Julio’s mentors, Glenn and Johanna Jones, were right there with Julio through many of his challenges, including getting through the financial constraints working and going to school during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of March, 2021, Julio became employed with the USDA as a Soil Conservationist in Albany, Texas. In reflecting on his experience with Dream Come True, Julio states “I am proud to say that I am a Dream Achiever and the Dream Come True Foundation of South Texas was very impactful in my life and in my school.”