American Dreamer: Sam's Story

American schools teach students that with hard work, they can realize their dreams. But this isn't the case for everyone.

2010 / Dan Collison / Elizabeth Meister / Latino USA, USA


American schools teach students that with hard work, they can realize their dreams. But this isn't the case for everyone.

Every year in this country, an estimated 65,000 young people do everything right – study, get good grades, win awards – only to discover that the American Dream isn't for them. Sam, an 18-year-old from Indiana, is one of these kids. Sam was brought to the US by his parents as a young child, but his family overstayed their visas. It wasn't until Sam was asked to provide a Social Security number for a college application that the fact that he's undocumented really hit home.

American Dreamer: Sam's Story won the Radio Impact Award in the 2010 Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition. The documentary was produced in 2009 by Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister for Long Haul Productions, in association with Latino USA.

(total running time: 44:04)


produced by

Dan Collison

Together with his life and radio partner Elizabeth Meister, Dan Collison produces audio documentaries and song/stories that detail everyday life in America, work that has consistently garnered radio's top awards.

Elizabeth Meister

Elizabeth Meister quit her job at the phone company to volunteer for public radio show This American Life in 1998, when she started their award-winning website in exchange for a chance to learn how to make radio documentaries.


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