As a child, Juan and his family immigrated from Mexico to the US. For several years, they were together. He felt safe in the protection of his family. But when he was 14, his dad was deported, and soon after his mom returned to Mexico as well. Juan stayed.
As a young teenager, Juan was without a family and he was homeless. On top of the physical struggle to survive, Juan suffered mentally. “It’s a slow descent; The increasing isolation, the unwanted feeling.
I was to the point in my life where I was like, ‘I don’t even want to go on anymore.'” He remembers standing on an overpass, watching the cars drive underneath him, thinking, “If I jump over, all this pain will be over with.”
Several people took notice of him. He was approached and surrounded by people who loved him and saw him not as a rugged urban youth, but of a struggling kid who was house-hopping to survive. With their support, he was able to keep going, to finish school, and succeed as an adult.
Years later, Juan met Jim and Melinda Hollandsworth, founders of the Path Project, while they were advocating for immigration reform in Washington, D.C. They were inspired by his story and hired him to be a Community Director at the Path Project in Atlanta, GA.
Today Juan is working with the Path Project to provide mentorship and resources to kids who have had experiences just like he did growing up.
Juan is able to love and inspire kids and young adults who are struggling with issues such as family deportation, unstable neighborhoods, and under-resourced schools.
As someone who has not only survived such childhood experiences but is now a thriving leader, Juan is an inspiration to the next generation of immigrant children and a powerful role model for his kids to look up to.