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American Dream Program Scholar Santos Gives Back to His Community
“I did not pick my major. My major picked me,” shared Santos, who looks forward to entering the field of social work next year. At New York City College of Technology, the rising senior explains the strong connection between his personal experiences and his academic studies. “I had a lot to contribute to the conversation. My classmates haven’t experienced foster care, but I was able to see that some of the course materials really simplify or romanticize the system,” said Santos about a child welfare course that he took this past semester.
Santos continues to offer his life experiences to enrich those around him. He’s preparing for a career in social work. “I really want to work with senior citizens. Too many people neglect this population,” explained Santos. No one would know that Santos has been on his own since he fled Honduras at the age of 15. With the help of one of his teachers, Santos was connected to an HSVS group home in Queens. During his time with HSVS, Santos learned English, secured his U.S. residency and learned how to support himself while still in school.
During his internships, Santos has cared for people with developmental disabilities and researched food justice in New York City. In his spare time, Santos has volunteered with kids in the classroom, older folks at senior centers and the unemployed at economic empowerment organizations. Although his interests and activities are interestingly diverse, they all have one thing in common—helping others.