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Written by Tyler Stowell

After the 12-hour journey, Carlos Palomares stepped off the old Greyhound bus with his mom by his side, breathed in the hot-humid air and said to himself, “I’m really here.”

Palomares and his mom were eating every meal while sitting on the floor of his brother’s apartment. With his mom working two jobs — packaging products in a warehouse and cleaning office buildings late at night — and his brother’s apartment unfurnished, it wasn’t quite the American dream Palomares expected. School wasn’t better. Hispanic stereotypes followed him around. According to Palomares, other students often looked down on Hispanics and assumed all of them were shady characters who stole for a living. When people would ask where he was from, this young boy from Mexico City would say, “I’m from Dallas, Texas.”

For the next six years of Palomares’ life, Dallas was his home. At 18, Palomares left for BYU-Idaho. He was unable to work due to citizenship issues, so his mom paid for everything his first year of college.

When Palomares returned to Dallas, he met with his stake president from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who encouraged him to serve a mission. Through the help of his stake president and the DACA program, Palomares got to stay in the United States legally and serve his mission in Provo, Utah.

His mission defined the direction of his life. Palomares never understood the trials his mother faced while raising him until he left on his mission. Through his service, he became a man, became proud of who he was, and even prouder of where he came from.

“My goal is to allow other people to have the same opportunities that I have had,” Palomares said.

Palomares, now a 24-year-old studying accounting, will graduate this semester. He plans to intern at Ernst and Young, after which he will begin his master’s in accounting and data analytics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He plans to serve whomever he can along the way, and he will always remember what his mom did for him.

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