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Pedro's Story


After I graduated high school, I felt I only had two options: join the military or get a job in construction. I come from a working-class family with a father, who worked two jobs as a cook, making ends meet, and a mother, who stayed at home to take care of me and my siblings. I applied for an internship with the Park Rangers in the City of Austin, where I met a Texas Conservation Corps (TXCC) staff member, who encouraged me to apply to be a Corps Member. Through the Park Ranger internship, I had the opportunity to work with kids, leading nature programs, and teaching them about the impact humans make on our planet. Through my TXCC experience, I learned a lot and gained new skills. I learned how to work in a team, how to problem solve, and how to take initiative. However, there were challenges. Living in Austin with a reasonable commute to the TXCC office was impossible on the provided living stipend. I struggled to pay for mine and my family’s groceries, car insurance, phone bill, and, occasionally, my parents’ gas and electric bill. Through all of this, I truly enjoyed my experience learning about conservation and deployed three times to communities affected by disaster. I found value in helping homeowners who lost everything and providing hope when it seemed all was lost. The little bit of work I could provide, after a disaster, still made a big impact in the eyes of a disaster survivor. Through this experience, I am a happier person and I am encouraged to continue to serve. I hope to become a Park Ranger to help kids explore nature and get more in touch with the outside world.