This is Carlos, and he has a very inspiring story for you. He comes from a very poor family, but he's not ashamed of it, and he's found a way to help his relatives and improve their lives significantly.
Carlos' dad illegally emigrated to the US when he was only three. In their country they were dying of hunger, as it was impossible to get a job. His mom was pregnant with his younger brother, and their only hope was the money their dad could send them. In the meantime, he was trying to get legal status so that they could join him and start a dignified life. When they finally got there, life became a lot better, and they could now be sure that they would have something to eat every day. Their new life seemed almost luxurious, and Carlos was proud of his father for what he had achieved for them through all those years of hard work and suffering.
When Carlos went to a new school in America, he noticed that there was still a difference in levels of wellbeing between his family and those of the other kids. He wore the old clothes that were donated to him, while everyone else had new stuff; everyone also had smartphones while he couldn’t even dream of owning one.
Carlos had a big family - there were five siblings, and he was the oldest. His mom didn't work, as she took care of the kids and his dad’s salary was not enough to live on, so even when he was still a child, after school and during all the school holidays, Carlos would work – mowing neighbors’ lawns, cleaning, walking the dogs and things like that. If he was lucky, he would even earn a decent sum. He brought all the money he earned home, and it was added to the common budget. Carlos watched his classmates go on summer vacations with their parents while he was doing odd jobs from morning till night, but he wasn't envious at all. He was happy and proud that he had the opportunity to contribute and understood that his earnings made his family's life a lot easier. The important thing was that they all loved and supported each other.
Of course, you can’t live by working all the time. Carlos had his passion - music. He wasn't very popular at school, and it was really depressing to be isolated from everyone. Music for him was the way to retreat from all that. What he liked most was playing the trumpet. His music teacher liked him a lot, and she was convinced that he was very talented.
Carlos' music teacher organized an audition for him at a very famous music college, so that he could graduate there after finishing school. He was actually very reluctant to go ahead with it, as he knew that his family definitely couldn’t afford it - so there was no sense in going there. But she said that sometimes life gives us surprises. He had to go, she said, and just make sure not to disappoint her. During the audition, they asked him to improvise, and all of a sudden due to his nervousness he got carried away by the music. He thought about his parents and his brothers and sisters, and tried to render this warm feeling into music. The result was breathtaking – it seemed that he had managed to impress them. He didn’t think of himself as a huge talent, but clearly they had thought otherwise.
But he had to refuse. They thought that he had misunderstood, but he really did refuse, as he had had enough time to think it over. My family needs me, he explained, and I can’t let them down: I earn money, and without it their life will become much harder; I need to contribute and as soon as I finish school, I’ll have to go to work full time. They asked him not to refuse immediately, to discuss it with his parents and listen to their opinion. He told his parents about the call and proudly informed them about his decision. His dad looked at him in a strange way and asked: “Hijo, are you an idiot? This is the chance of a lifetime! Having my children break their backs for minimum wage is not what I was struggling all these years for!” Carlos didn’t expect this, and he was so surprised that he said, “But I won't be able to contribute, I won’t be able to work! “Oh come on - we're adults, we'll work something out! We're not starving after all!”
Now, Carlos is a senior and his college is waiting for him. He on the other hand can’t wait; he practices his music all the time while also working a lot to contribute something before he leaves. He sees a bright future ahead, and all this is thanks to his dad. Apart from giving him this opportunity thanks to his hard work, he taught Carlos that he needs to always weigh up his chances and set his priorities, and that you should never waste your talent if you have one. Carlos is sure that he will be the most motivated student ever, because when he starts working as a professional musician he will be able to give his family back all the support he has received from them in order to make his dream come true.