Stories of Resilience:

I Found My Purpose With My Differences

Her Story:

Name: Raydhiri Hidalgo
Born: New York, NY
Lives: New York, NY
Handle: @dhiri 

As a young girl growing up in the Bronx I always felt represented in the media, education, food and culture of my neighborhood. It wasnโ€™t until college that I felt I was different from the rest of the population. 

I felt a culture shock with a change in demographics when I moved to Fairfield for college. I was now a first-generation ๐ƒ๐จ๐ฆ๐ข๐ง๐ข๐œ๐š๐ง ๐€๐ฆ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ง studying at a school in one of the richest counties of Connecticut. 

There were these differences about me that I didnโ€™t know existed until I was faced with a different environment โ€ขmy kinky hair โ€ขmy upbringing (my parents are immigrants from the Dominican Republic) โ€ขSpanish is my first language. I learned English by watching Sesame Street and Barney โ€ขmy economic status 

I wanted to leave my neighborhood for something different not realizing that I couldโ€™ve gotten a similar education at a more affordable state school. I didnโ€™t have the guidance on making those financial decisions at 18 years old. 

I grew up in public housing and received food stamps as a kid to be able to keep my mom afloat when my parents were separated. Those 4 years of college were the best and sometimes the worst years of my life. I had experiences that I will never forget. Iโ€™ve made lifelong friends, learned that I can be me even when thatโ€™s totally different than everyone else, and I had the opportunity to study in Spain for 2 summer months. 

Eleven years after graduating from college I finally feel that I have found my purpose with my differences. Iโ€™m an ๐จ๐œ๐œ๐ฎ๐ฉ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐š๐ฅ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ฉ๐ฒ ๐š๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐š๐ง๐ญ at a skilled nursing facility where I bring representation for women of color in a healthcare setting. 

I am a leader, advocate, educator, listener, helper and student so that I can be the best healthcare provider for a community of color. 

Iโ€™ve learned that peopleโ€™s negative stereotypes of you sometimes cannot be changed, and thatโ€™s okay. I will continue to serve my community with the knowledge and skills that I learned through adversity

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