Learn – Grow – Create – Give Back
There are countless nonprofit organizations out there today making a difference for our communities and for the world that need our support, the more we learn about them, the bigger the impact they can have. We have made it our mission to learn about each organization chosen by the Purposeful Dreamer as inspiration for their work and donate 10% of profits from every piece sold though the Purposeful Dreamer gallery.
As I learned about this organization and as an immigrant myself, I felt inspired to share a little perspective of what I’ve seen in my life as I grew up in El Salvador and my parents brought me here when I was 15. I am a what they call a Dreamer in immigration terms as I did not make the choice to come here. I became a citizen in 2018, as I was sworn in as an American citizen, I felt so grateful for the opportunity I was given and realized why so many have sacrificed so much for this dream, from all over the world, for almost a century! Like many other dreamers and immigrants in this country, we never take for granted the opportunities it has given us, we work hard and want to contributors of this society.
If you have never experienced what life is in countries like El Salvador, you might not realize that the life they were handed pushed them to look for hope elsewhere, we are all humans simply trying to survive in this world, to give the best we can to our children and those we love. I believe when we make an effort to understand the other side outside of judgment, perhaps can give us a different perspective and understanding.
People don’t risk their lives and their families going through a dangerous dessert and living everything behind for nothing, most of them are doing it because they have no hope for opportunities where they live, because they most likely don’t have their basic needs like food on their table every day, or the safety and freedom in their own neighborhoods, or the job opportunities or education to get out of their situation where they are.
I have personally seen the poverty in El Salvador, I was lucky enough to have a little more than many there and my dad always made sure I was aware of what being poor REALLY meant and I’m so thankful for that perspective that teaches me to appreciate more of what I have. Growing up, our house wasn’t grand, and we didn’t have cable or air conditioner, not even a washer or fancy things but we had running water and a safe home, food at the table and we could go to school, my dad wanted us to know how lucky we were to have those basic things.
I thought I should share a little bit of that perspective in my life. For starters, my dad didn’t own a pair of shoes until he was about 8 years old and him and his 5 brothers and sisters lived in one tiny room in a poor neighborhood in Santa ana. He had to work at bean farms at a young and eventually worked his way out to be an accountant.
Have you ever seen a kid without shoes, at 5-6 years old trying to wash your car window for a few pennies? Shouldn’t they be in school or playing at home? Or a mom with her 2 kids carrying heavy baskets of food walking all around town all day long to try and sell some treats to make ends needs? Have you seen kids living in houses so poor they have no electricity or running water, their homes made out of mud and sticks, and dirt floors? I remember seeing people working really hard and still not being able to meet their basic needs or have the basic education they deserved, sometimes traveling only by walking for miles and miles to get to work in the city.
Did you know the minimum salary in El Salvador for a retail worker for example, its only $202 a month while the cost of basic needs like milk and cereal cost similar to what you would pay in the US? I realized that 15 years later when I got to go back to visit my family and couldn’t believe it with my own eyes.
Art is the expression or application of human creative skills and imagination, a place to dream, find joy, imagine the possibilities of a better tomorrow and grow. There is no wrong in Art, anyone can create, we must let go of the fear and judgment and turn it into learning and acceptance of our selves and others.
There is so much work needs to be done for these families, thank you Borden Angels and all its volunteers for all the work you have put in to create awareness and support thousands of vulnerable families stuck in these situations.