By Julia Rosa Helm

After leaving their home in Mexico in 2011, Nely and Mario Rivera came to the United States, seeking a better life with more job opportunities and better education systems than Mexico. They work extremely hard to provide for their close-knit family of five. Their three daughters are their top priority, as they take advantage of the improved opportunities here by sending the oldest two, Britney and Ximena, to Watts Elementary. There, they are able to receive a Montessori education and add to Watts' diverse community. The sisters have close relationships with each other, as well as with their parents. These strong bonds enable the girls to support each other and understand how important family truly is.

Throughout this project, I loved getting to know the Rivera family as they welcomed me into their home. It was amazing to see the girls open up to me more and more as time went on. I learned so much from talking to Nely and Mario and hearing their stories about coming to the US from Mexico. Because I am also Hispanic, learning about their experiences made me reflect on my family's history when they first came to the states. It gave me a new sense of appreciation for my family and the struggles they must have endured. I am so grateful for this experience to connect with a family as special as the Riveras and I look forward to seeing them more, even after the semester ends.