EAGLE COUNTY, Colo. — During a time when so many people feel isolated, boys and young men in Eagle County are finding brotherhood in the space of a closed-down restaurant.
My Future Pathways gives hope to boys in Eagle County
My Future Pathways help set first-generation boys in Eagle County on the right path.
My Future Pathways, an organization that offers educational assistance for middle school and high school boys, turned the empty space in Edwards into a youth center in the summer of 2020.
“Being isolated, and hearing from other friends that they weren't really getting that socialization, it really pushed everyone to do something about it,” said My Future Pathways mentor coordinator David Garcia.
“I feel like this organization is something that's been a dream in my head and somebody finally made it a reality,” said Gerry Lopez, a peer mentor for the organization. “Growing up ... they didn’t really have a place for me to hang out with my boys.”
The organization is working to reach out to first-generation youth whose parents immigrated to the United States.
My Future Pathway’s leaders are focused on improving the high school graduation rate for first-generation boys and providing scholarships for higher education.
"We facilitate all the steps to accomplish that through character building," said Bratzo Horruitiner, the executive director of My Future Pathways.
Peer mentor Gerry Lopez, who moved to Colorado from Mexico as a child, said first-generation youth often don’t feel community programs are made for them.
“[We want] for them to be able to show up and feel like they're home and feel like they do belong,” Lopez said.
The youth center, stocked with foosball tables, fitness equipment, computers, and video games, is the site for mentoring and tutoring sessions.
“What we tried to do the entire summer was create trust. We tried to create friendship first and then it grew into a brotherhood,” Garcia said.
“What that looks like is real raw conversations. We really think about things that we really use in our everyday life. We talk about resiliency, responsibility, communication skills,” Lopez said.
Teens said they appreciate the connections they've been able to make at the youth center.
“In the center we share a lot of stories that are sacred, that stay here,” said 17-year-old Max Ledezma. “I think the most valuable thing that I've gained from coming here was just learning about other people's stories and being able to be empathetic.”
“We want to provide the pathway for opportunity through education, through mentorship,” said Ron Davis, the founder of My Future Pathways. “Success to me is going to be when we have somebody on the school board, when we have somebody on the town council … so that the true people who make it happen in the Valley are the people that are actually in leadership roles.”