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Inspired by her mother, nursing student hopes to bring free healthcare to the Dominican Republic

Valerie Chavez DJ[T]here are many contributions I plan to make to the community, nation, and the world. Recently, I’ve decided that my dream is to become a nurse. Originally, I thought about studying pharmacy because of my interest in chemistry, but as I researched different careers I decided to take a different path. After completing a career test at my high school, it was clear that nursing was a better profession for me.

My love for helping and serving others, especially children, has been a guide for me to choose this path. Granted it is extremely difficult and requires much hard work to become a nurse, my passion for helping others would be my driving force. Although there are significant responsibilities, I look forward to being able to provide people with the necessary healthcare, comfort, and compassion that every human being deserves. Additionally, being able to assist in caring for people and saving lives would be a dream come true and certainly a way that I could contribute to my community.

Getting my nursing degree is my short-term goal but in the long run, I hope to continue my education and become a nurse practitioner. My Hispanic heritage is something I am very proud of and has had a strong influence in my career goals. My mother, being a native from the Dominican Republic, has taught me a lot about my heritage. She grew up in a small town and lived in the Dominican Republic all her life until circumstances motivated her to make a rash, but very brave decision. Knowing very little English, my pregnant mother decided to move to the United States so she could provide a better life for my older brother, and eventually me as well.

My mother came to New York starting from barely anything and was so hardworking that she managed to provide wonderfully for my brother. She was a single mother who worked three jobs; her motivation was the well being of her son. My mom has inspired me in so many ways to always be as hardworking and determined as she was. Ever since I can remember my mom has given everything she could back to our country.

When I was young she used to take me and my brother to poor towns in the Dominican Republic and donate anything she could get. She would ask our neighbors, church members and family to donate things like clothes, shoes, school supplies, etc. Over the summers, my brother, my cousins and I would go and teach a small little bible study in a poor town every Saturday. We would also bring them candy and small little gifts as rewards for memorizing bible verses. At the end of the summer we had a huge donation drive and a medical outreach for the people in this town. Although I was only a kid at this time I remember vividly how much of an impact we made. All of this was inspired by my mom.

Her idea started out small in 1998, but has now turned into a registered organization called Happiness Now. My mom has big plans for this organization and continues to do extraordinary things to help these people who have so little. My hope is to one day contribute even more than I already have by providing free health care to these communities in the Dominican Republic that truly need it, and continue to help improve my country.

We are proud to announce Valerie Chavez is one of the current LatPro Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

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