I was born in Southern California in a city just outside of San Diego called Escondido. I was born from a mom that was born and raised in Texas who lived on a farm with two brothers and two sisters, and a father that came from the capital of Mexico. I have three more siblings besides myself; an older brother who was born from a different father, an older sister, and a younger brother. Our mother had moved me, my sister, and my older brother from Escondido to Fresno when I was about four years old, while pregnant with our little brother. When we moved we lost contact with our father so we didn’t even know if he was still alive.
Several years pass and something tragic happened that I will never forget. My mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a type of cancer that causes the body to lose the ability to fight infections. On top of that she had a brain aneurysm that caused her head to swell, so she was hospitalized and put on life support to keep her from dying. The doctors told my older brother that he had to choose between keeping her on life support or pull the plugs. He decided that it was her time to go, so the doctors pulled the plugs to her life support machine, and she was gone!
My older brother had the responsibility of taking care of me, my older sister, and little brother at the age of seventeen with a son of his own and a wife who was the same age. His father was found dead in a bathtub from drinking too much and hurting himself. So none of us had our mom, none of us had our dad, all we had was each other! I had learned from my older brother that our mom had join the Army and traveled the world. I also learned that our mom wasn’t perfect, she was going through withdrawals from doing drugs when all four of us were born. There are only two possible outcomes when someone is going through withdrawals or on drugs while they are pregnant, the baby either dies or becomes handicapped. All four of us beat those odds! We didn’t just beat those odds, scientists estimate that the odds of being born is 1:400,000,000,000,000! That means we were born for a reason, there’s a purpose why we are here after beating those odds!
While we lived with my older brother he went in and out of jail and we had to move from house, to house, to house so we had a broken home everywhere we went. We struggled harder than most people would ever understand without putting their feet in my shoes and see what I saw throughout my life! The best part about my older brother and his wife was that they could have walked out on us at any point in time, and said that it was too much for them to handle, but they didn’t. They did something that most people wouldn’t have dared to do at such a young age. They sacrificed everything for us to be here today! They never made an excuse for why they couldn’t do something!!
Eventually, I had a son of my own almost the same age they did. So, I did what I thought was best and I moved to Bakersfield to live with the baby and his mom at the end of my sophomore year in high school. Well, things didn’t turn out the way I hoped it would have turned out. I continued my high school education and I graduated in May of 2014. It was one of the best days of my life. I cried that day because I had so many mixed emotions about reaching a huge milestone in my life. After I graduated I moved back to Fresno, to return to the same things that happened before I left. My older sister and I had continued to move from an apartment with my sister-in-law, to a relative’s house, to my older sister’s best friend’s mom’s house, her name is Maria. My little brother lived in a boy’s group home at the time. I learned when I came back that someone had given my little brother drugs when he was thirteen and my older brother had to sleep with him so nothing happened to him. A day came when my older sister called me and she told me that Maria had told her boss about our story and our situation, and decided that she was going to help us. After everything that happened the day we met up with Maria’s boss, we were given money to buy clothes for college and started the process to get an apartment a couple of weeks before school started.
Now, I am attending college here at Fresno City for a degree in business in pursuit of my dreams. Not only am I going to college, but my older sister is graduating from Fresno state this year with a degree in Kinesiology and my little brother is attending Fresno city for a degree in Kinesiology too. I am the type of person who will not give up until I get what I want even when all of the odds of making it in life are against me! One day I will make a significant impact on people who choose to surround themselves with me wherever I go. As a great quote once went “people quit because they don’t have pride in what they do! People stop because they are selfish, and it’s just about them! When you have a bigger purpose to why you are doing what you are doing and you want to honor the sacrifices that others have made for you, it’s nothing for you to keep going when you hit adversity. If every decision and choice you make is just about you, at a certain point you are going to hit something that’s a lot tougher than you and it’s going to make you quit because you don’t have a driving force for why you do what you do!”
– Mario Armenta
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