Roy Juarez Jr. was homeless at the age of 14. With the pressure of being responsible for his two younger siblings, Roy spent two and a half years living on the streets of San Antonio, TX. It wasn't until years later that he finally met his adoptive parents who took him in and encourage him to go back, graduate high school, and become the change he wanted to see.
Being homeless at such a young age and as a minority, Roy felt that he carried a stigma—that he was just going to be another statistic; he was categorized as a poor kid and a troublemaker. Not wanting to concede to this stigma, Roy went to a local community college. There, he expanded his network by going to events and meeting guest speakers. Then, he was fortunate to meet a guest speaker who became his mentor, and offered him an internship later on. His mentor taught him how to work hard and not give up in life. Through her support, Roy decided to attend university, and chose the one his mentor attended, Hardin-Simmons University in Texas.
Roy believes that his background and struggles make him appreciate the purpose and meaning of his life, “it gave me rich history with culture, love, compassion, and inspiration that I was going to work hard and not let the things that happened to me stop me”. Roy embraces his culture and empowers others to understand and appreciate their own background.
Roy does not want other people to give up, especially young students who experienced something similar to him. He advises others to identify their motivation. His motivation was his younger siblings: “Once we identify our motivation, hold onto it, and keep reminding ourselves why we are doing what we are doing.” Don’t give up on life because of things we can’t control. On the other hand, when we are in a position where we can help others, he encourages us to find the passion to do so.
Another important thing is to have a mentor: “They can open door for you and make you see life from a different angle.” Sometimes we don’t realize that the path we have chosen may not be the best one, and mentorship can help our thought process. Roy himself has different mentors who teach him about life, forgiveness, and who help him with his career goals.
Today, Roy is the CEO of American Business Leaders, a human development company. He has traveled the country and beyond for two and a half year, and spoke to over 100,000 students to motivate them to be successful and not give up in life.
Roy will be the keynote speaker at The Diversity Career Night, May 2 in the EMU Ballroom at 5:00–8:00 p.m. All are welcomed to hear his story about barriers, life, diversity, and never giving up.
If you have any question, the UO Career Center is always here to help. Come to 220 Hendricks Hall to have a more in-depth conversation about your goals. You can also call us to set up appointments with our professional career advisors at (541) 346 3235.