09:30 AM

Student Honored at White House for Helping People Register to Vote

Steven Arteaga Rodriguez is working to make a big difference here in Houston.

His volunteer work is big enough that it was recognized this week in Washington at the White House. Rodriguez, who is 18, is old enough to vote, but can't yet. However, he's helping countless others register to have their voices heard.

His mother brought him here from Mexico when he was 2 months old, and while he's never been a citizen, he is here legally under what's called DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Rodriguez said, "DACA has given me a glimpse of the American dream. I'm still not there yet."

And while he cannot vote, he helps others register through the organization Mi Familia Vota. He's a volunteer who just this past week was honored at the White House, along with other teens just like him.

"It was a great honor because not a lot of people go to the White House," Rodriguez said. "Especially not undocumented immigrants."

A freshman at the University of Houston-Downtown, he is considering a political science major, hoping what he learns there and the work he does at Mi Familia Vota will inspire change in the immigration system.

He explained, "For me, the most important thing about the United States is change. If you don't like something, you can change it."

The Obama administration created the Champions of Change program to honor people doing outstanding things to inspire their communities. It's something Rodriguez says he'll keep doing in Houston. He said, "I love the work that I do because I want to make a difference in this world. This tiny part of the world."

Reprinted from KTRK.