I discovered the Libreria Martinez de Chapman University during our Chapman50 tour of the redevelopment of downtown Santa Ana. I then reached out to Brady Hogan about getting involved with the program.  As a result, I had the opportunity to be the first keynote speaker for the library’s teen mentoring program. The teen mentoring program is focused on providing guidance for lower income Hispanic teens that desire a college education. 

As a second generation Puerto Rican American, the opportunity to mentor Hispanic teens was close to my heart.  There is a significant cultural gap for Hispanic teens being raised in the communities of Orange County. The cultural differences can be very difficult for some Hispanic teens to overcome during the very uncertain and confusing teenage years.  

My message was clear, “I am here to tell you the things that I wish someone would have told me when I was in your position.”  From here I painted a picture of the current state of Latinos in the US, which now represent over $1 trillion in purchasing power and 16.3% of our population.   I explained that the next generation of Latinos will have more power and opportunities than any previously, but they needed to be prepared in order to capitalize on these opportunities. I was stern when I said, “nothing important or worthwhile comes easily.”

I then gave my personal guidance on overcoming cultural challenges and obtaining success. I explained the keys to effective goal setting, the importance of discipline, making sacrifices, preserving and the ability to filter “noise.” I also challenged them to chase dreams, but to always trust in education as a primary backup plan.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience and I am so grateful that I had the ability to give back in such a personal way.  Thank you to Chapman50 for presenting me with this opportunity.

For more information about the Libreria Martinez de Chapman University and its programs click here.

Written by: Jonathan Sanchez (MBA ’13)
Chapman50 Member