Being A First Generation American

Being A First Generation American Takes More Strength And Determination Than Any Job On A Resume

In the end, I have to repay my mom for everything she sacrificed for me to be standing where I'm standing right now.


My mom and dad come from the same small village in Mexico. Tuzantlan is a village within the state of Puebla, with just over 1000 inhabitants. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that there a more people from this village living in Yonkers, NY, than there are in the actual village. Tuzantlan relies on its farmable terrain to remain afloat. My grandparents from both sides of my family were all farmers. Farming is the path of most of my family members prior to my parents' generations. It is what I would be doing right now had my parents not decided to leave Tuzantlan one day with no more than 1000 pesos.

My parents met at school. They went to the same elementary school, the only school in Tuzantlan. They both had to stop going to school after the fifth grade because they had to start working. Poverty was prevalent in our family - it seemed like an endless cycle, endless until my parents' generation came about.

It was like a coming of age ritual for my family. Anytime an aunt or uncle got married, their honeymoon destination would be a one-way ticket to New York via a shady truck through the Mexican border. My mother was the youngest of 12, meaning that she was the very last one to get married and thus the last one to make it to America. She married my dad at the age of 19 and less then a month later she was in America, thriving for the success and happiness that this country had promised.

She was young, ambitious, and very naive. She had a lot to learn, not only about this country but about herself. After a couple of months of being in New York, she became pregnant with me. Five years later she became a single parent. No English, no money, no family to support her. Even with all these obstacles, not to mention the systematic oppression that she faced as a Mexican immigrant, she still became the amazing parent that she is and was able to do it all by herself.

Growing up, it never really fazed me, the fact that I didn't have a normal family. My mom worried about the risk she was taking, of being in this country as an immigrant. She worried every day that she might be deported and forced to return to a country that she no longer had any connection to. She never made this apparent to my sisters and I. It was a fear that she hid in the back of her mind, hoping that it would not affect us.

My mom had many hopes for us not only as a mother but as a mother that had faced so much adversity for us to be where we were. She never said so, but in my mind, I knew that my accomplishments would serve to validate every struggle, every part-time job, all the sweat and tears that she powered through. She expected us all to graduate high school and then to eventually graduate from college. She had no idea what this meant, being that she only went up to the fifth grade.

I was the first in my immediate family to be born in the United States. Then I became the first to graduate high school. And now I am the first to have attended college. If I were to stop right now, I would have still accomplished so much more than what is expected. As a first generation American, I have to make sure that my success and the success of my sisters is paramount.

In the end, I have to repay my mom for everything she sacrificed for me to be standing where I'm standing right now.

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.


Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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Big Slick KC: The Importance Behind Celebrities Coming Together in Kansas City

This annual event is one of my favorite things to attend, and it's the 10th year, so it deserves recognition.


Every year since 2010, Big Slick KC has been a huge event held in Kansas City, Missouri, where celebrities from our favorite shows and movies come together for one weekend to raise money for Children's Mercy Hospital.

The hosts of Big Slick are none other than Paul Rudd, Eric Stonestreet, Jason Sudeikis, Rob Riggle, and David Koechner. Every year, they invite around 40 celebrities to participate in the weekend's events.

This year had some big names like Selena Gomez, Olivia Wilde, Zachary Levi, Haley Joel Osment, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, and many more. Each year they try to bring in new people, while also having some Big Slick veterans return.

The busy and wonderful weekend starts out with the celebrities all coming in and visiting the children at Children's Mercy Hospital, spending time with them and taking pictures. I think it's amazing how they take the time to actually get to know some of the kids that they are raising the money for.

After that, the celebrities head to Kauffman Stadium, break up into two teams, and face-off in a not-so-serious softball game before the Royals game. Each celebrity gets their own signature Royals jersey and they play a few innings. They also come out again and sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for the seventh-inning stretch.

The next morning, the celebrities all make their way to the Pinstripes bowling alley in Overland Park, where they are greeted by hundreds of awaiting fans.

After the children of Children's Mercy are introduced and walk along the red carpet with their parents, the celebrities follow, taking pictures and signing autographs along the way. They head inside and bowl with the children from the hospital.

That night, the celebrities all come together one last time to host a huge party, this year it was at the Sprint Center, where they all just perform and have a good time. They also host an auction where some pretty cool items and opportunities are auctioned off.

Besides just being a fun event to attend and a good way to see some of your favorite celebrities up close, Big Slick is just so important because of its cause.

This year, Big Slick KC raised around $2.5 million for Children's Mercy Hospital. That brings the total to over $10 million that Big Slick has raised since 2010.

This amazing weekend is always so much fun, not just because some big stars come to a fly over state, but because of the children that they are raising the money for. The hosts and the celebrities that attend all care so much about the cause, and they make a great weekend out of it for anyone who attends.

I'm already looking forward to next year's exciting weekend.

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