’19 Hours’: Trying to Survive (and Thrive) in L.A. [VIDEO]

The Los Angeles Times ran a story with a video on Friday featuring Gaspar Marcos, an 18-year-old sophomore at Belmont High School in L.A.’s Westlake neighborhood. As with nearly 25 percent of his classmates at Belmont High, Gaspar was born in Central America — Huehuetenango, Guatemala, to be exact — and arrived in Southern California by way of the Texas-Mexico border and a coyote. He was only five years old when both his parents died from illness

Caspar shares something else in common with his Central American classmates: he has a full-time job, scrubbing dishes at a Westwood restaurant for $10.50 an hour. He rents a room from a family in MacArthur Park for $600 a month plus groceries. Bit by bit, he’s also repaying the $10,000 he owes his smuggler. “What can I do?” he tells journalist Cindy Carcamo. “It’s just the life I was given to lead.”

Read more of Gaspar’s incredible, but unfortunately far too common story at here.