Dream Gifts Raises Three Quarters of Goal


Dream Program Project Director Elmer Rodriguez shows support for DACA recipients on Sept. 5, 2017. Photo by Doug de Wet/SAC Media.

The Mt. SAC Foundation raised $14,305 of their $20,000 goal through the Dream Gifts program to help Dreamers, the people brought to the United States illegally as children, pay the $495 Homeland Security processing fee to renew their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals DACA status.

Dream Gifts is a result of a collaboration between the DREAM Program and the Mt. SAC Foundation to help Dreamers who were struggling financially because DACA was rescinded in September by the Trump Administration. Laura Muniz, DREAM Program counselor, said that Dream Gifts was created not only to help the students with the renewal of their DACA status, but also to create an emergency fund for future use. Faculty members, administrators, staff and non-Dreamer students were the main contributors of the fund that helped students as they face a great deal of unpredictability.

Elmer Rodriguez, the project director for the DREAM Program, said that many Dreamers who qualified and had a renewal date no later than March 5, 2018 were afraid of not meeting the Oct. 5 deadline because of financial trouble. Bianca, 20, was one of the 12 students who were sponsored by the money raised through the funds. “To come up with $500 when you only have two weeks was difficult,” she said. “Many of us Dreamers are full-time students and can’t get a full-time job because it will interfere with school.” Kevin, 35, a student Dreamer who was also sponsored by the fund agreed with Bianca about the financial struggle many Dreamers are facing. “This entire process is extremely challenging,” Kevin said. “It’s a roller-coaster of emotions and the deadline was just the cherry on top to all the struggles. For some people $500 is not a lot but for some of us it’s our rent, it’s bills and all the other things we need to address before we can think about where we can get extra money for our application fee.

Contributions can still be made to the DREAM Program through the Mt. SAC Foundation, and by purchasing a t-shirt that reads “SUPPORTING THE DREAM.” All donations that go directly to the DREAM Program are tax deductible through the Foundation Office.

For more information, go to the Mt. SAC Foundation page.