3,585 Miles from Struggle to Success in Finding Her Place in America

I don’t have many friends on Facebook, but I joined Femigrants Community because I felt that sense of unity and support. This is what I believe in.”

Nury Castillo Crawford is an owner of 1010 Publishing LLC, a published author and an inspiring educator. She was born in Peru, South America and immigrated with her family to the United States when she was ten years old. She holds a B.S and M.S. from Florida A&M University. 
The success of her bilingual book called '3,585 Miles to Be an American Girl' was written based on her personal story that inspired her
to found her own publishing company '1010 Publishing' LLC.

In 1979, when Nury was ten years old, her family left her native county Peru to migrate to the US. Peru was torn by a terrible political and economic crisis. Despite her age, Nury understood that her father’s decision to move the family out of Peru to the US was both wise and brave. “We came to the US with nothing but our luggage. We were lucky enough to have family here in Indiana, with whom we stayed until my father had enough money to rent us a house. In a short time, we had rented a house and bought our first used car”. Even then, in her young age, Nury displayed signs of leadership in her character. It was obvious that she was not the type to follow, but to be followed. Her parents took notice and encouraged that in her. “They gave me more responsibilities than one would expect of a child my age.”

She played a significant role in her family’s transition in the US. An outstanding student, she learned English quickly. She used her knowledge of the new language to help her Spanish-speaking family with translating documents, bills and mails. At 12 years of age, Nury even helped her mother learn to drive by translating the instructions to her from English to Spanish! They formed a great team, Nury and her mom, taking care of the family’s budget and household. “We were very thrifty that a few years later my mom managed to buy our first used car with the money she had saved from grocery shopping”.

“I’m very supportive of my family and I am very much family oriented. At the age of 16, I helped out with refinancing our house loan.” Being part of an immigrant family was a challenge but also an opportunity for Nury. Growing up quickly and taking responsibility at home, provided Nury with a solid experience and grounds to stand on. She was motivated to study and accomplish her dreams.

After finishing her undergraduate studies, Nury set out to find a scholarship to fund her graduate studies. She stated that, “finding funding for my graduate studies was very challenging. Everyone told me that you can’t find funding for graduate studies easily. Easily was the main term here, because it means it could be done. If one person can do it, I can do it too! I truly believe that!”. Her perseverance was her key skill to find a funding after her first semester in graduate school.

Self-confidence is half the battle, learning to love and forgive ourselves is a key to the success. If people are not your maximizers, and if they don’t support you and make you believe in yourself, you don’t need them around you whether in social media or in real life. “


“After graduating, I wanted to go into business, but I have a soft spot for children. I felt that I wanted to move in a career path that allows me to make a difference in children’s lives, especially children of immigrant families”.

Nury is now an administrator in a middle school. Her objective is to share her experiences as an immigrant child with immigrant children. “I try to make them realize their assets and that their accent isn’t something to be ashamed of, in fact they should be proud that they are bilingual”. She believes that self-confidence is half the battle, learning to love and forgive themselves is key to their success. That is what she is trying to ingrain in those children.

Nury was also involved with the Title One Program. The program is federally funded to aid impoverished areas, schools, families and children. Nury acted as a bridge between schools, families and the communities. She held about 20 workshops a year to help the community learn about their rights, or answer any questions they may have from parent rights  to questions related to school work. To reach the families, she held the workshops at various locations to make attendance convenient for her target population. “Parent involvement doesn’t need to be coming to school and cutting out papers, you could be cooking in your kitchen and listening to your child read”. When Nury was writing the chapter on ‘Lessons I learned from my Mom’, she realized that everything she had learned about being a mom was from her mom. “All the conferences I’ve attended and spoke at and all the knowledge I have, couldn’t compare to what I had learned from my mom. My parents were protective and they didn’t want us to know that they were struggling when we first came to the US, but we knew it. Their tenacity and perseverance inspired me to write ‘3,585 Miles to be an American Girl’”. 3,585 is the exact distance from Peru to Columbia, Indiana. The book retells her story as a young immigrant with her family and all the ups and downs that come with the struggle to find her place in the US. The book retells the hardships but also the successes that Nury had accomplished.

When we asked Nury about her message to the Femigrants’ Community, she advised to strongly believe in themselves and never let anyone determine their worth. “If people are not your maximizers, and if they don’t support you and make you believe in yourself, you don’t need them around you whether in social media or in real life. We all need our tribe and group of friends that cheer us on. We don’t need those who bring us down, we do that all by ourselves.

I don’t have many friends on Facebook, but I joined Femigrants Community because I felt that sense of unity and support. It’s written in the very guidelines that this is what Femigrants is about. This is what I believe in”.

Editors: Mariya Dimova, Dana Haj Hamad

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