Empowering Immigrant Youth: Alejandra's Inspiring Journey and KIND's Impact

April 12, 2018

Good evening. My name is Alejandra Valdez, I am from El Salvador and I am a High School Senior in Washington DC. I am here tonight first of all to thank KIND and all of you for being our angels of hope and for letting us make our dreams come true.

Three years ago, my then ten-year old brother and I traveled from El Salvador to Washington, D.C. with just the clothes on our backs, an extra pair of shoes, and passports in hand. We made the dangerous journey to reunite with our mother after a 10 year separation. She came to the U.S. looking for better opportunities for us. Over the years, living in my home country began to be a challenging life experience due to increasing gang violence. It was because of this, that we decided to leave our country.

When we arrived, my mother looked for help in many different organizations. None of them were willing to help us, but fortunately, my mother learned about KIND. Our experience with KIND was wonderful! They listened to us, and most of all, gave us the assurance that everything was going to be ok. Shortly after, we met my lawyer, Lucero, who has been our guardian angel. She helped us through the entire legal process, went with us to court, and has helped us with school. Today, Lucero continues to be an essential partner to me and my family and I am very grateful for her and all the work that she, and KIND, has done for us.

Lucero also gave me the courage to know that I would be able to make my dreams come true one day. When I arrived from El Salvador, I only spoke the beautiful language of Spanish. The first and most difficult barrier that I faced was to learn the English language. Being an English speaker was not only a personal goal, but a necessity.  From going to the store to translating important documents for my mother, I knew I needed to master the English language.

The journey was not easy, but it has been amazing to get to know new people, myself. and the ability I did not know I have to overcome my fears and challenges

During my first week of school, I could not understand anything the teacher was saying which caused me to not have friends. At first, I thought about dropping out of school and going back to my home country because I felt defeated. After a motivational talk from my mother, I thought that in order to stop a problem I needed to stand up and fight for myself and other voiceless people, who often suffer in silence. After hearing the complaints and struggles of my new friends who were being bullied, just as I was, due to their immigration status, sexual orientation, special needs and many other issues, I was motivated to work on a campaign called the Anti-Bullying Project. In March of 2015 with the support from ten community organizations, I held the first Anti-Bullying Day at my school which gave my formerly silent friends the courage to overcome their fears.

Over time, I became fluent in English and with hard work and the motivation to succeed, I am now ranked number two in my senior class. The journey was not easy, but it has been amazing to get to know new people, myself. and the ability I did not know I have to overcome my fears and challenges. I am working towards graduating as Valedictorian but in the meantime, I am now proud to say that I will be attending the George Washington University with a full tuition, room and board scholarship where I will majoring in Biology. My dream is to one day become a Pediatrician.


Alejandra gave the above speech at KIND’s 10-year anniversary gala, watch above.