Oliver Martinez-Reyes

University of Denver - 2021

“I am fortunate to come from a strong united family. However, when it comes to economic development and higher education, I must seek help elsewhere outside of home. I say this because my parents are immigrants and the highest level of education they both received as youth was that in equivalence to a high school diploma. With that being said, I knew completing high school was a must, but college was a far-fetched idea, that couldn’t possibility become a reality. As I began my high school career, I was introduced to Junior Achievement the non-profit organization that educates the youth about financial literacy, career readiness, and entrepreneurship. As a result, my life took an 180-degree turn because whenever JA would come into my classroom, they weren’t JA employees, they were professionals in the business world who spoke about their career and how they got there. From then on, I developed a passion for economic development and education for the youth because I saw the copious opportunities there are in the world after receiving exposure to them. Soon after, I began my involved in the community and I realize that behind me are many more. For that reason, I am motivated to help all youth see the bigger picture in life and help them navigate it as I was guided. My parents built my foundation, JA built the support, mentors provided the resources, teachers transmitted their knowledge, and to summarize, it was through collective effort that I was catapulted here today. Thus, I firmly believe that everyone needs the same support.”