In a short, but powerful ceremony, activist groups celebrated the beginning of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals application period on Wednesday morning.

More than 50 undocumented youth and supporters came out to West High School in Denver, carrying banners from immigrant advocacy groups and chanting "undocumented and unafraid."

Luis Serrano, of the Longmont Youth for Equality, told his story as an undocumented youth.

"Thanks to the hope and endurance of every DREAMer, the support and help of our allies and the uplifting moral and emotional support of our families we have accomplished this," he said.

Serrano said that after struggling with having to accept his undocumented status he is hopeful that deferred action will make a difference.

Homeland Security announced the details Tuesday of what documents undocumented immigrants would need to prove that they are eligible for the Obama administration's deferred action. The announcement came a day before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was set to begin letting people apply for the program.

Deferred action allows undocumented immigrants who came to the country before their 16th birthday and were less than 31-years-old as of June 15, 2012, to apply for employment authorization and avoid deportation.

Applicants must also be enrolled in school, or have a high school degree or GED, or be an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States.

Deferred action does not offer legal status and must be renewed every two years.

Under guidelines that the administration announced, proof of identity and eligibility could include a passport or birth certificate, school transcripts, medical and financial records and military service records. The DHS said that in some instances, multiple sworn affidavits, signed by a third party under penalty of perjury, also could be used.

Attendees of the event said this was only the first step toward comprehensive immigration reform.

Nancy Olivas, of Aurora, said it is important to pass the DREAM Act - which offers a path to citizenship - because those who fought for it more than a decade ago may now be eligible for this new immigration program.

"We need it for them, for those people, for people like my mom," Olivas said.

Olivas, who came to the country when she was 10 years-old and has lived in Colorado ever since, said she completed all of her courses to become a nurse's assistant, but could not get certified because of her immigration status. Olivas said she was forced to find work to help her family after her father was deported back to Chihuahua, Mexico.

Her story is not uncommon.

(Cyrus Mccrimmon/The Denver Post)
Esmeralda Melendez and Karina Rodriguez, both graduated high school and were faced with the reality that they would not be able to continue their education.

"I went to college for like one semester and then I stopped because of the expenses and just not being able to afford it," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez, who came to the U.S. when she was two, said she doesn't remember anything from the place that is supposed to be her home. If she is able to she would also like to become a nurse.

Justin Valas of Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition said they will be partnering with organizations across the state to provide education drives so people can learn about the application process and get advice on how to fill it out.

"We want to keep a vigilant eye," Valas said. "We're excited at the opportunity, but it is also only as good USCIS is willing to implement it."

Valas also said applicants must beware of people trying to scam them. He said the application fee is $465 and if anyone is asking for more money in exchange of being expedited they should be immediately suspicious.

A decision on each application could take several months, and immigrants have been warned not to leave the country while their application is pending. If they are allowed to stay in the United States and want to travel internationally, they will need to apply for permission to come back into the country, a request that would cost $360 more.

To deal with the numbers looking to apply, immigration rights organizations around the state will be holding drives to helpDREAMers gather all the necessary documentation through the August.

In September two more events twill offer legal support for applicants already filling out their applications. 

Those who would like to volunteer for the drives can attend informational sessions next week.

-The Associated Press contributed to this report

Trainings for volunteers helping with deferred action registration drives
DENVER
Date: August 22, 2012
Location: Together Colorado, 1980 Dahlia St. Denver, 80220
Time: 6pm-8pm
Contact: 503-753-4985 
FT. COLLINS
Date: August 24th 7pm
Location: Plymouth Congregational Church
916 W. Prospect Rd, Ft Collins
Time: 7pm-9pm
Contact: 970-419-8944 

Pre-registration drives to help help DREAMers gather documents needed for their application

DENVER
Date: August 25, 2012
Location: Colorado Heights University, 3001 South
Federal Boulevard, Denver, CO 80236
Time: 9am-4pm
GRAND JUNCTION
Date: August 16, 2012
Location: St Joseph's Church, 230 North 3rd Street
Grand Junction, CO 81501
Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Contact: 720-315-9737
 YUMA
Date: August 16, 2012
Location: Presbyterian Church-110 W. 4th Ave
Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm
Contact: 303-831-0817 
DENVER
Date: August 17, 2012
Location: San Cayetano Church, 299 South Raleigh 80219
Time: 7pm-8:30pm
Contact: 303-831-0817 
 MONTROSE
Date: August 17, 2012
Location: 431 Cascade St. Montrose CO
Time: 7pm-9pm
Contact: 720-315-9737 
COMMERCE CITY
Date: August 19, 2012
Location: Our Lady Mother Church,
6690 East 72nd Avenue Commerce City, CO 80022
Time: 11am-12:30pm
Contact: 303-831-0817
LAKEWOOD
Date: August 21, 2012
Location: Sheridan High School
Time : 3:30pm
Contact: 303-831-0817
DENVER
Date: August 22, 2012
Location: Escuela Tlatelolco,
2949 Federal Boulevard Denver, CO 80211
Time: 6pm-7:30pm
Contact: 303-831-0817
 DURANGO
Date: August 25, 2012
Location: Durango Public Library, 1900 East 3rd Avenue 
Durango, CO 81301
Time: 1pm
Contact: 970-375-9406
 WESTMINSTER
Date: August 25, 2012
Location: Irving St Library, 7392 Irving Street,
Westminster, CO 80030
Time: 1pm-2:30pm
Contact: 303-433-2812 x101

Registration drives with legal support to help Dreamers fill out their applications

FT. COLLINS
Date: September 14, 2012
Location: Plymouth Congregational Church
916 W. Prospect Rd, Ft Collins
Time: 7pm-9pm
Contact: 970-419-8944
DENVER
Date: September 22, 2012
Location: Colorado Heights University, 3001 South
Federal Boulevard, Denver, CO 80236
Time: 9am-5pm
Contact: 503-753-4985