Updated: Jul 24
Meet Jenniffer Flores from The South Bronx, New York (USA)
I grew a garden with no water. Metaphorically this has been my life.
The Bronx is my home and unfortunately I don't want you to think about it with: crimes, violence, and poverty. However, this letter to the world is not me telling you what the Bronx lacks. This letter to the world is showing you how the Bronx has helped me do the impossible.
I am sure you know Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, Fat Joe. We all grew gardens with no water.
This is my garden:
I learned what it was to not have much. When I first arrived in the Bronx my family and I ate hot dogs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week straight because our stove wouldn't work. My mom cooked hot dogs in a coffee maker and since this isn't a how-to-cook guide, I won't explain how. But I am sure some of you will figure it out.
I became my own teacher. In middle school I learned that teachers are HUMAN and can also be struggling to teach students who have severe difficulties at home especially in the South Bronx. I realized I was fortunate to be able to go home even if home was a project. So, youtube and google become my friends. That’s how I learned the water cycle, how to write a killer introduction, how to combine terms with exponents, and the list goes on.
I learned asking for help isn't a weakness. After realizing youtube and google could only help so much, I realized that I am entitled to ask for help, especially as a student, who didn’t have the ability to go home and ask my parents for help. Both my parents didn’t understand english and had studied only till 6th grade as they started working at a very young age to help their families out. I learned to stay after school for extra help and not be ashamed of telling a teacher I was struggling.
Today, as a Sophomore in Cornell University’s ILR school, I think despite my greatest hurdles in life I have taught myself to learn and proven my worth. Although I shouldn’t have to prove why I am worthy of learning I learned how to do it. I am here sharing my story because I wish every child that comes from poverty would only be worried about learning, not about their next meal or if they'll have somewhere safe to sleep at night.
Fortunately, I am one of few kids who made it out of the South Bronx. I am one of few kids who pursued higher education. We need more educated Bronx natives. A lot of us are growing a garden without water, which we deserve to grow. Now, imagine how many more gardens we would grow if we did have water.