Daisy Barrios was in the first grade at Murchison Elementary School, in Boyle Heights when IHADLA first sponsored Program 14 and became part of her life. Thanks to a newly formed partnership, she was one of two IHADLA students who qualified for a scholarship to attend high school at Southwestern Academy, a private, coeducational college preparatory school for grades 6-12 in San Marino, California.
One of Daisy’s challenges growing up was to know how to make decisions for herself. “I was always making sure my choices didn’t negatively affect someone else or hurt their feelings,” but “IHADLA taught me to stand up for myself by giving me the chance to go to a high school outside of my comfort zone. I became more outgoing and was able to form friendships quickly. I learned to be outspoken in all aspects of my life…They taught me that having personal goals for myself was okay.”
Thanks to IHADLA’s Mentorship Program, when Daisy first came on board, she was matched with mentor Ruberta who has been in her life since Daisy was six years old. “My amazing mentor, Ruberta, really pushed me to think outside of the box and test my limits…she helped shape the woman I am today. She was actually the one who first encouraged me to start reading books, which led to my reading addiction and ultimately to my literature major. Berta may have started out as my mentor, but she is most definitely my second mom. I was lucky enough to have an amazing mentor that not only adopted me as the daughter she never had, but also welcomed my family as her own.”
A graduate of the class of 2017 from California State Polytechnic, Pomona, with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature, Daisy is now an Admissions/Marketing Associate at Southwestern Academy, at the same school where she attended high school and met her husband. She is currently writing a fiction novel, which she hopes to publish soon.
As for her overall experience growing up with the IHADLA family, Daisy shared that “IHADLA exposed me to become a good public speaker and work on my people skills through various Dreamer events and volunteering opportunities.” One of her favorite memories was attending the annual Sequoia National Park Camping trip as it allowed some of her program friendships to become stronger, “I remember the late-night conversations and bonding over food. It’s been one of the best moments of my life.”
Asked about the role she thinks IHADLA will play in shaping the future of our communities, “IHADLA will open a new world of opportunities and possibilities to any student who is lucky enough to be a Dreamer. They’ve really made education accessible. Future students will have no problem seeking the help and education they need and deserve.”