Former Collegiate Division I Football Player and National Latino Youth Speaker
"Your Circumstances Do Not Define Your Future"
With an incredible story of overcoming adversity, Jonathan has made it his life's mission to inspire students to dream big, and encourage parents and educators to play a vital role in empowering today's youth.
Having grown up in Rio Hondo, Texas, one of the lowest income communities in the United States, Jonathan faced many hardships during his childhood. His mother was first incarcerated when he was in middle school and then again when he entered high school. Estranged from his biological father, Jonathan was raised by his grandfather, who was a migrant field worker. He proved stability and a strong paternal presence to Jonathan and his siblings, and taught them the important lesson of, "En esta vida hay que luchar, " which means, "In this life we must fight."
Despite his difficult home life, Jonathan made the choice to fight for his future. While he possessed natural talent in athletics, Jonathan knew that in order to achieve his dream of one day attending an Ivy League school, education had to be his top priority. He kept his focus in the classroom, and also became very involved on campus including serving as student class president both his junior and senior years.
Jonthan recalls hearing many negative voices along the way; some even from educators who thought his dream of attending a prestigious university was next to impossible. With immense effort and persistence, he overcame obstacles and naysayers, graduating from high school in the top 10 of his class. Not only did Jonathan thrive academically, but because of his remarkable athleticism, he achieved his dream of being recruited by top Ivy League schools like Harvard and Stanford. Ultimately, Jonathan committed to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., one of the world's leading academic and research institutions. He walked onto the Division 1 football team and was a starter for two years as an offensive lineman.
While at Georgetown, Jonathan made it a priority to be involved on campus, just as he did in high school. He worked with the Georgetown University Alumni Association to help raise scholarship funds for future students who came from similar backgrounds, who also had the dream to achieve academic success. During his time working with the Alumni Association, Jonathan ranked No. 1 in fundraising for the organization within a 3-year span.
In his highly interactive program, Jonathan inspires audiences to protect their dreams from bullying, peer pressure, drugs and alcohol, and negative voices. His various strength demonstrations show students, parents, and educators how to fight (luchar) for their dreams.
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Protect the Dream
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Luchar: Harvest to Harvard