Written by Martin, Horizons for Youth alum
Edits by Jacqueline Barajas and Tim Coffey
January 17, 2019
My name is Martin Brizuela and I am a Horizons for Youth alumni.
The Merriam- Webster dictionary defines a mentor as a trusted counselor or guide. Someone to help you make the difficult decisions that life can bring you.
As young people sift through their teenage years, it can be easy to skew the important decisions that need to be made. In comes Joe. Joe Colgan is an experienced sales professional, and beyond that, my mentor throughout my high school and college years. I attended Lincoln Park High School, and towards the end of my junior year, the decision of what university to attend was quickly approaching. My older brother was a Chick Evans Scholar at the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign, so naturally, I was set on attending U of I as well. So much so, that I didn’t even consider applying anywhere else.
Joe was supportive of my dream school but urged me to broaden my search a bit. He started by helping me research schools and assisted me with the college application process. As my senior year was coming to a close, I wound up applying to 11 universities and receiving acceptance to all of them.
Fast forward a couple of months and decision time was quickly approaching. Joe went out of his way to accompany me to several college visits throughout the Midwest. Some of the more memorable trips were to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Iowa, and Indiana University-Bloomington. Going on these long road trips with Joe helped facilitate conversations that helped build my business acumen and gave us time to attend a couple of university basketball games- which is now my favorite sport.
Today: I’m a proud graduate of the University of Iowa, class of 2019, with a degree in Business Development and a full-time job at Oracle in Boston. The investment in me by my Horizons for Youth mentor, Joe, changed the course of my life and exemplifies what mentorship is: He supported me and provided what I needed, and what I didn’t know I needed. I’m forever grateful to Joe and Horizons for Youth. It’s mentors like Joe, who always go out of their way, to help today’s youth like me, make sure we are supported and see what we are capable of.