Coming From a World of Outsiders

Describe the world you come from – for example, your family, community or school – and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

Both of my parents came from very different worlds. My mother was born and raised in the impoverished country of Colombia in South America, where she had to help my grandparents take care of her four younger brothers in their small apartment in the city of Medellin. At the same time, my father was growing up thousands of miles away in the quiet countryside of Ireland. Their love of caring for the poor and helping others eventually brought them together in the oddest of places, Skid Row in Los Angeles, where they had both joined an organization that brought food and clothes to those living on the streets.

Not only did this passion to assist those in need bring my parents together, but it also instilled in me that very same attitude of reaching out to others who are less fortunate. During my freshman year in high school, our principal discovered that not only was I one of the up and coming debate students, but also that I was fluent in Spanish, having been raised with Spanish as my first language. When I told my parents that the principal, Father Pat Travers, wanted me to deliver sermons in Spanish to neighboring parishes regarding our school’s house building project in Mexico, they were extremely supportive and were glad that I...

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