My Future Pathways (MFP)’s primary goal is to enhance and enrich the lives of first-generation youth in the Vail Valley. By being the boots on the ground, MFP’s programming generates a tangible impact in the lives of youth through a “one kid at a time” approach as opposed to “one size fits all” standardized programming. MFP meets youth where they are and provides individualized and wraparound support to them and their families to meet their specific needs.
At the end of 2018, through the work we were doing with our sister organization Guardian Scholars, it came to our attention that half of the male Hispanic kids were not graduating high school. When we were holding interviews for scholarships, the majority of applicants were girls, and the boys who applied weren’t as prepared or motivated, with their grades below average when compared to the girls. That’s when we decided to dig deep and figure out what was causing this disparity, and how to address the lack of grit, passion for life and hopes for the future, forming My Future Pathways in 2019.
A big challenge when we started was figuring out our scope. We started as a male focused organization, and that quickly changed as the girls wanted to have the same opportunities as the boys. After that, having the kids believe and share our mission, vision and direction and earning the trust of the community were the biggest challenges. Now that we feel we’ve been accepted based on our integrity and work as an organization, we’re staying focused on the correct use of our resources based on our niche.
By serving Latinx and first-generation youth in a culturally relevant way that respects and celebrates their values and culture, MFP ensures the most at-risk and vulnerable population of Eagle County youth has a place where they can develop a stronger sense of identity and belonging. MFP empowers local youth to fearlessly pursue their goals and dreams with adequate support while reducing the likelihood of engaging in harmful or unhealthy behaviors and activities.
MFP’s three-pillar approach includes social-emotional support through mentoring and psychoeducation, academic support through tutoring and scholarships, and physical health and wellness through sports classes and recreational activities. We help in a holistic way to help our youth and their families achieve their full potential, with a strong sense of belonging and identity, resulting in graduation, employability, and leadership. We take students on educational field trips to the Vail Police Department, Denver Art Museum, Coors Field, Buckley Space Force Base, Air Force Academy, Colorado Mesa University and many more places. We offer sports classes so our youth can be active and focus on their wellbeing. In the summer, we offer Summer Pathways, a program focused on closing the opportunity gap and learning through play-and-learn (heuristic) models. And for the parents, we offer a class “Conectando Raíces,” a dual-generation approach in partnership with Hearts Reign Familia to support parents and the family environment. By improving the lives of one child at a time, one family at a time, we improve the quality of life in the community.
One of MFP’s guiding principles is the belief that when all youth in our valley have the opportunity to reach their full potential, our entire community reaps the benefits. The social and economic disparities that exist in our rural resort community, however, cause several youths, particularly first-generation and Latinx students, to be at a disadvantage in reaching their full potential due to lack of opportunity, leading to a lack of diversity and representation in our local systems and perpetuating a cycle of underrepresentation. With a heavy focus on equity and inclusion, MFP works in partnership with various local organizations to leverage existing resources and ensure all kids and their families have access to services in a culturally appropriate way, amplifying the opportunities available to them.
Through existing partnerships with Eagle Valley Behavioral Health, Eagle County Schools, The Hope Center, Mind Springs, SOS Outreach, Howard Head Sports Medicine, Hearts Reign, Bright Future Foundation, Colorado Mountain College, Guardian Scholars, Eagle Valley Community Foundation, Denver University’s Graduate School of Social Work, Colorado Mesa University, Western Colorado Community College, and others, MFP’s ability to meaningfully impact a kid’s life holistically, is enhanced and amplified.
Finally, our team is our secret sauce. We mirror the community we serve with all our team members being bilingual and bi-cultural. We’re lucky to have a group of caring individuals, backed by the support of our community and our openness to collaborate.
Our vision is to become the leading organization driving the social change for the Latino Community in the Vail Valley. Our secret sauce, aka our team, We’re lucky to have a group of caring individuals, backed by the support of our community and our openness to collaborate. We are working on new projects and creating new pathways of success, not to help us grow organically, but to continue to serve and elevate the Hispanic community through systemic change, access to behavioral health, leadership, and representation.
Learn more about the work My Future Pathways is doing at www.myfuturepathways.org