Byron Hernandez wants to be an inspiration to other immigrants. He wants to share his journey so others can learn about BakerRipley. And he’s here to tell you that with dedication, anything is possible.
In search of a better life, he left his native Guatemala 18 years ago and settled in Houston.
“You come here and dream of improving your lifestyle, but upon arrival you have a language barrier, you don’t know anyone and it can be depressing. It can make you lose that dream you initially came in search of,” said Byron.
For years he worked construction because he thought there weren’t many other options for him. Then, one day while on the internet, he saw that BakerRipley offered free U.S. citizenship classes.
Step one: Citizenship
Byron came to BakerRipley for assistance with his U.S. citizen process in September of 2019.
“It all started with the citizenship course taught by Mrs. Vega. I was scared because my English is very basic but she helped me all along the way. She’s a wonderful teacher who motivated me to believe that everything is possible.”
The process gave Byron confidence to continue learning and preparing for better opportunities. It also motivated him to enroll his mother in English classes so she can prepare for her citizenship process.
“As immigrants, many of us believe we don’t have a chance to continue studying in the U.S. and we are limited by this. Some people don’t know that there are places like BakerRipley that can help us.”
Unfortunately, many of our neighbors cannot afford private immigration attorneys. Without low-cost and free services, many would be unable to apply for citizenship. Byron became a U.S. citizen in October of 2020.
Step two: Electrical Course + GED
Looking to further his knowledge, Byron enrolled in a level one electrical course, to become a certified electrician. He successfully completed the course in February 2021.
The next step was to get his GED certificate. He was full of fears and doubts, but he stepped up to the challenge and completed his GED earlier in April.
“As an adult, I can continue my education for free with this program and the education is of the highest quality. I hope this motivates others to see how valuable these programs can be in your life.”
Step three: Get a new job
Byron’s efforts and dedication continue to pay off. He recently got hired to work at an Amazon warehouse, allowing him to make earn a higher wage and receive better benefits. It allows him to better support his wife and daughter.
“I’m an example that you can achieve what you want. BakerRipley doesn’t only give you the tools, it helps you achieve your goals.”
Byron wants to tell his story to as many people as possible. He wants to show them that there is a pathway forward to new possibilities.
“When you feel like something is going to stop you or when you’re looking for excuses, take that next step. You never know, that next step might be what allows you to jump over that river of fears, and on the other side you’ll find what you want to achieve as a person.”
And Byron is not done yet, down the line his dream is to become an elementary school teacher and we’re sure he’ll accomplish that too.