A Student Describes How VOLS' Dream Not Deferred Project Made Her "Proud and Worry-Free"

April 14, 2015

"I moved to the United States in 2011. It was a difficult time for me because I was undergoing a family crisis at home, but I managed not to let my personal life and struggles affect my work ethic in school.

One of my worst days as an immigrant was when my school was hosting a contest which offers the winner an opportunity to travel to another country and gain a scholarship for college. I was excited and did my best to qualify as a semi-finalist. However, to my great disappointment, my principal informed me that I needed to be disqualified because of my immigration status. I felt like everything did not matter anymore because never in my life would I have thought one’s status could deprive them from getting opportunities in this country. When I realized my parents were unable to afford an attorney who could work on my papers. I almost gave up on school. But then I transferred to another high school.

I was freaked out during my senior year because I believed my status as an asylee would not allow me to apply for financial aid or scholarships, and I would not be able to afford college. Fortunately for me, one day I saw a poster stating the school was in partnership with Volunteers of Legal Service which helps low income students who need legal assistance. I was immediately connected to an attorney, and in less than four months, I was able to get my Permanent Resident Card. It was the happiest day of my life.

I feel so relieved volunteer lawyers are also now working with my younger siblings so they won’t miss opportunities or stress out like I did by the time they are seniors in high school. Thanks to VOLS, I feel like my presence in the United States actually matters. I can walk in the street feeling proud and worry free. Now I am more than ready to pursue my dreams of attending college and work toward success."

- Immigration Project Client