The American Dream, with a Twist

A son of Mexican immigrants, Agustin Villegas became the first person in his family to purchase a home. Villegas, 30, had owned that west suburban Berwyn home for about four years when his aunt and uncle sought his assistance in purchasing a west suburban Franklin Park residence about two years ago. Villegas agreed to co-sign with his uncle. But when Villegas went to fill out the paperwork, the real estate agent encouraged Villegas to sign as the sole owner, since he had a better credit history than his uncle. The real estate agent assured Villegas that in a couple of years Villegas could refinance and put the house in his uncle’s name; however, before the refinancing could happen, his aunt and uncle moved to Texas in September 2006.

Psychological problems on rise

The news: The campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University became the scene in April of America’s deadliest shooting after student Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old South Korean immigrant, killed 32 people and then himself. Behind the news: The shooting appears to embody a grim trend among young adults nationwide. In a 2006 survey published by The International Association of Counseling Services, 92 percent of directors from 367 counseling centers at American and Canadian colleges and universities said they believed that “severe psychological problems” have increased among students in recent years. And suicide ranked third among the leading causes of death for people between the ages of 20 and 24, with 12.5 suicides occurring for every 100,000, according to a 2006 National Institute of Mental Health study. Some college counselors in the Chicago area said that psychological problems could afflict any students, regardless of their race or ethnicity.