My name is Oscar and I’m 17. I am an only child and live with my mother. We moved here from Mexico when I was 6 years old and I’ve been in Camden and Pennsauken ever since. Being raised in America was a great experience until I became a teenager and realized I was undocumented and couldn’t do the things my friends could do. I couldn’t apply for a job at a store, get my driver’s license, and even qualify for financial aid and scholarships when I get to college.
My mom has had to take really bad jobs, making very little money, where she is treated like less than human. I always had to lie to my friends and teachers so no one would judge me or report me to Immigration. I too took on a lot of parttime work from a young age, working 20-30 hours since middle school. Every dollar that I made would go to my mom and the bills or rent. My dream is for every immigrant to have a job with legal papers…papers that would determine that they are not just another number…papers that would make them part of this community.
I love being from Camden and all of my friends live here so it’s where I want to be. One thing I don’t like about my city is the trouble in the streets; it’s hard to feel safe in certain areas and at night and that’s bad. Another great thing about Camden has been finding the LUCY program. It has helped me to see a different side of the city and gives me opportunities to explore outside of my neighborhood. It also gives me a view of what other people go through in life and that my problems aren’t as big as others more in need might be.
I have a lot of career dreams and want to go into fashion someday. I design clothing right now and love cosmetology. I’m hoping to someday be the next Oscar de la Renta!
Thanks for listening to my story. We all have a story and we can support each other just by listening.