Video posted on March 4, 2016 at 6:10 am CST

For Sandra Romero, a high school mentor enabled her to lead her community to new heights.

As a single mother on welfare at age 14, Sandra Romero was almost forced to leave school and give up on her dreams. But with the help of a mentor, she decided she wanted more from life. She finished school and started working with the community. She soon partnered on a venture to help turn an at-risk community around through a kitchen incubator and vending program.

She co-founded Mama’s Hot Tamales, becoming not only “mama” of the restaurant, but of the entire community. Now she’s pursuing her American dream by teaching a new generation the importance of education and financial stability, because she trusts a next generation will continue her work.