“Impact” program offers leadership development and mentoring.
By Felicia Mora
Roy Juarez Jr., a Northwest Vista College graduate who detailed his background as a homeless youth during this college’s convocation in August, will promote the importance of higher education to high school students.
The board of trustees on Tuesday approved $140,000 at the request of college President Robert Vela for Juarez to provide motivational speaking and training for students at Southwest, Lanier and Edison high schools.
The training is a youth-empowerment and leadership development curriculum, “Impact,” to prepare at-risk students for college “socially, emotionally and culturally,” according to information in the meeting agenda.
Vela told trustees the college has to change something to get the attention of high school seniors expected to graduate, according to a video of the meeting. Vela praised Juarez’s unique approach because his message has been proved to reach high school seniors.
“I hope that we can pave a path for many students who are first-generation college students and show them the way because we truly believe that college education can change the entire course of not just the student’s life but the family that surrounds them,” Juarez told The Ranger Sept. 28 in a phone interview.
Juarez said he met with Vela after his presentation at convocation.
“After Dr. Vela heard my message, he spoke to me about what can we do together to help to reach out to young people in their or the college’s backyard to make sure we reach out to our community,” Juarez said.
Juarez has spoken at local high schools this fall in his “Find Your Future” tour. He will be at Lee High School Nov. 8 and Lanier Nov. 9. He also has spoken at Southwest and Edison high schools, and a date for a visit to Jefferson High School has not been set.
“Impact” is a new leadership program in which high school seniors will be mentored and taught leadership skills. He developed the program after success as a professional keynote speaker for school districts, universities and corporate America.
“I’ve been able to now take my message and build a youth leadership program from it,” he said.
Juarez said his message to high school students is, “Understand that life gets better, that education is freedom, and that you have to be the change you want to see, and that change starts with us.”
Juarez can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat or at his website www.homelessbychoice.com.
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