By Elva Trevino
I am an eighteen year old girl who happens to be the oldest sibling in the family. I love school, playing with my family, and talking to my mom. I, however, do have a very strong dislike for insecurity, instability, and having to say goodbye to the ones I love the most. In all honestly, the latter I do not “strongly dislike” as much as I hate.
Life has proven to be a great roller coaster to my family ever since I was small, which may unfortunately be the same for many. My family and I have moved unceasingly, from being in the process of owning our own house to losing that opportunity, moving to another country to living in the countryside, to having to stay with relatives and friends away from parents and siblings. I have never relied on a paternal figure; my mother has been both my mother and father for most of my life. She is also the one that has been carrying the entire financial burden of the family in her shoulders. There was a time in which I lived away from her, and I hated the feeling of leaving her side to get a better life while she struggled in a daily basis to raise my youngest siblings. Six months after we reunited, we finally had a place we could call home.
I have been a resident in Public Housing for five years now. Thanks to this assistance, I have been able to make long lasting friendships, been able to excel in school, volunteer in my community, and help my family financially: things foreign before that point in my life. I would have never imagined myself in such stability back when I was in elementary. Back then all of this would have been a wonderful dream. Today I am grateful to say that this dream has finally become a reality for my family.
I have been able to show exactly “What Home Means to Me” by participating more than once in NAHRO’s poster contest under the same name. My illustrations depict what I find in my home, some things that I lacked while growing up. “Love, security, knowledge, happiness” and, most importantly, “a place where loved ones await” are words that decorate my illustrations. I hated that time in my life where my mom was not present, where I could not play with all my siblings, which is why I longed for a place where we would safely reside, a place that I could call “home” and affordable rental housing has made that happen.
In two weeks I will be attending Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas in order to pursue a career in medicine — away from home, but now by choice. I plan to come back and become a resource to the community that has helped my family greatly. I also wish to help my family financially, help them become self-sufficient, in order to give Edinburg Housing Authority the opportunity to assist another family in need.
Elva Trevino is a two-time national winner of NAHRO’s annual ‘What Home Means to Me’ poster contest. Her artwork has been displayed on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
For more information about the ‘What Home Means to Me’ poster contest – part of the Housing America Campaign – , visit http://www.housingamericacampaign.org/