After years of struggle, homeless teen is headed to U.C. Berkeley

Nataly Romero (Facebook).

In the fall, Nataly Romero will join a new cohort of freshmen at U.C. Berkeley. Like all of the school’s students, she worked hard to get there. But Romero has faced more obstacles on the path to college than most.

As The Fresno Bee reports, Romero had a turbulent childhood. When she was just 3 years old, her father, an undocumented immigrant, was deported to Mexico and reportedly murdered there. Her mother and grandmother were deemed unfit to care for her, and Romero was taken into custody by Child Protective Services. She was eventually reunited with her mother, who by that time had a new husband — also an undocumented immigrant. When he was deported, Romero’s mother took her children to Mexico so they could live with their stepfather.

Romero was forced to start a new life in a strange country, but she was determined to return to the United States. At the age of 10, she started working as a caregiver for the elderly, and saved enough money to buy a plane ticket back to Tijuana. From there, she traveled by bus to Fresno — on her own, without any adult to help her and keep her safe.

With little support in the U.S., Romero was homeless and forced to live in a shelter. But she continued to maintain a 4.0 GPA, and was ultimately accepted into U.C. Berkeley. She will receive financial assistance to attend.

Romero graduated from high school last week. Just prior to graduation, the inspiring teen posted screen shots of her final report card, showing straight A’s. “Very proud of myself🤗,” she wrote.

When her new life at college begins, she will major in social work, so she can one day help other struggling young adults. “I intend to be there, to be an adult figure and guide them,” she told The Fresno Bee.

Read the full story at The Fresno Bee.


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