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Arizona DREAMer named among Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30

Reyna Montoya of Gilbert is one of Forbes magazine’s 30 under 30 social entrepreneurs. (Photo courtesy of Diego Lozano, creative director of Aliento)

PHOENIX — A DREAMer from the Valley was recently named by Forbes Magazine as one of the top social entrepreneurs who are under the age of 30.

The magazine evaluated hundreds of potential honorees in the making of the list and chose Reyna Montoya, a 26-year-old Gilbert resident, as one of the nation’s 30 social entrepreneurs.

Montoya said she found out she was chosen through an email from Forbes Magazine.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “It was definitely a surprise to see that the work of many years has been recognized.”

In an article by Forbes, Montoya was described as a young, undocumented immigrant who grew up experiencing the “fear, anxiety and stress associated with having undocumented status in America.”

Montoya was born in Mexico and came to Arizona with her family fleeing violence when she was 13 years old.

Forbes also credited her with starting a community-based organization called Aliento, through which she teaches immigrant youth and children with family members who have been deported to use art as a form of healing.

Through her organization called Aliento, Reyna Montoya teaches immigrant youth and children with family members who’ve been deported to use art as a form of healing. (Photo courtesy of Diego Lozano)

“For me, it’s really important that we’re talking about the emotional well-being of these young people because they are going to be our future leaders,” Montoya said.

She also taught them leadership skills and encouraged them to become agents of change in their communities. In addition, she guided allies on what they can do to support undocumented youth and immigrant families.

Montoya’s honor came as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — that is protecting Montoya from deportation — is on its way out.

She is one of about 25,500 DACA recipients in Arizona, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services data.

President Donald Trump announced in September he was ending the DACA program and gave Congress six months to replace it. Opponents of the program said it is unconstitutional.

“This new administration doesn’t want to recognize our work, doesn’t want to recognize our contributions, and yet Forbes does,” Montoya said.

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