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HUMBERTO MANUEL CORTEZ GONZALES

I am eighteen years old and am studying Graphic design at the university. As a child,  my family life was a disaster. My father was alcoholic. At one point he had a good job and was a musician. He lost everything to alcohol. There are three of us. I am the youngest and have two older brothers. About thirteen years ago my parents separated on account of my father’s alcoholism. My father basically abandoned us and made no attempt to support us. It takes a lot to raise children and  feed them and pay for school. My mother tried to provide us with a normal life and. worked day and night to provide for our needs. She took on the role of both mother and father.  She did a good job of raising us and as a result none of us have succumbed to drug addiction and alcoholism which is common among youth in this community. She also taught us to be gracious and respectful of others. In a sense, we are a happy family, though my mother has some health problems, probably because she has had to work so hard. 

I know that I will succeed and get ahead and get recognition. People often ask how I got where I am today with such a father. When I was nine years old, to my surprise, I was invited to join the Ayudame a Pintar Mi Futuro art program. (Help Me to Paint My Future) I explained how we had to make it on our own with no outside help. I was selected because of the situation of my family being a single parent household. I was taught painting and drawing, and I was also taught how to do things well and succeed. I learned a lot working with younger children and also learned a great deal about art. It was the best thing that could have happened to me in order not to have a troubled life. Later I was given the opportunity to work and earn some money from the sale of my paintings and from working with the younger children. In addition we received a monthly food basket. Though we had always lived in rented housing with high rent, Ayudame generously helped to finish a  house which belonged to us. As I mentioned, I have been studying Graphic Design, but  studying requires having a lot of money and it has been a struggle. I know that I can succeed and anything is possible and I need to apply myself to succeed, however money is always a problem.   

In terms of my goals and dreams, I will begin with my goals which are to finish my studies at the university and after graduating, find work. I also want to help my family, especially my mother.  I also want to be of help to the Ayudame program returning the favor the did for me. I want to help the children so that they don’t suffer the way I had t o. Many need help with their families and with their studies. My dream is to travel to the United States and to represent the Ayudame a Pintar  Mi Futuro program. Something else about me, I love to play Soccer. Many people say that I am am very talented player.    

Above all, it is very important to b grateful, grateful for every day, grateful for health. I  would like to be known as  someone who helps those who are in need of help. I would also like to do everything I can to help the program Ayudame.  

Note: The GuateMaya Art and Culture Connection has helped to support Ayudame a Pintar Mi Futuro (now known as Creando Mi Futuro – creating my future). We also have been supporting Humberto by purchasing his art and by providing him with funds to help with his higher education. (he completed a semester at the University in Guatemala City but had to temporarily give up his studies to return to San Pedro to help his mother who became ill)

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