When I created my brand MINIMO, my intention was to create a brand/platform to give back by supporting causes that are important to me. As many of you may know, I am a DACAmented immigrant or a “DREAMER”. For most of my life here in the US, I was uncertain about my future. Because of my immigration status I knew I was unable to go to college or work to pay my way through college. That changed in 2012 when Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was enacted. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented students’ lives were impacted that year, including mine.
Later that same year, when I was living in Reading, Berks County, PA, my childhood best friend introduced me to the Greater Reading Immigration Project (GRIP). They are a small group of volunteers working to raise awareness about immigration issues in Berks County through education and advocacy. Because of the need they saw in the community, they established the GRIP Scholarship in 2013. In September of 2013, three other students and I were awarded a $1000 scholarship each. For me it was the greatest reward I had ever received. Through the GRIP scholarship I met amazing mentors who guided me and encouraged me throughout my education.
Today GRIP continues to raise funds for DACAmented Students and provides guidance for the college admissions process. GRIP awards Dreamer scholarships to local students who are ineligible for state and federal financial aid because of their immigration status. As of 2022 they have granted a total of 55 scholarships worth $154,550.
The DARE TO DREAM campaign was created to raise funds for the GRIP Scholarship Program. With every purchase of the monarch butterfly pendant necklace, 60% of the proceeds will go to GRIP. This scholarship program is an important part of my journey, as I myself am one of the first recipients of this scholarship. Because of the GRIP scholarship and the mentorship of the volunteers, I was able to pursue a higher education. I also became a volunteer and helped to raise funds for the scholarship to help other DACAmented students continue their education.
As an entrepreneur my goal is to give back, and with this initiative I hope to help and inspire others to do the same.
The monarch butterfly, who journey's 1,200 miles between Canada or the United States and its winter home in Mexico, has always represented the story of immigration. It is a very important symbol for immigrants. And since being adopted by 11+ million undocumented immigrants, the symbol’s meaning has some to include the resilience and hope in the immigrant community. The signs of the strong fist on each wing signifies determination and courage. There are many adaptations of the monarch butterfly used across the country. This particular monarch was created by Nancy Alondra Mauroschadt, a friend from Berks County, who is a former DACA and GRIP Scholarship Recipient. Its beautiful simplicity made it the perfect design for a pendant.