It was December of 2016 and I was having an inner struggle regarding my current position as a financial advisor in training. When I had graduated from Quinnipiac University only a few months earlier with a B.S. in Finance I was under the false pretense that I had figured out what I truly wanted to do with my life. I imagined working on Wall Street earning millions of dollars a year, becoming a captain of industry, and unfortunately in the process losing my inner peace and soul. As time went on, working in the financial industry, I realized that I was having an inner struggle of morality when it came to helping others and I was stuck in a toxic and detrimental environment. I truly wanted to improve the lives of the individuals whom I was seeing on a day to day basis without being motivated by greed or the allure of material things. Around this same time I had begun a program with my parents, Deacon Tullio V. Ossa and Flor Ossa, at the vibrant parish of St. Louis in West Haven, Connecticut. This program is centered on working with the entire family unity in order to improve relationships between spouses, improve relationships between parents and children, and also improving the relationship of the entire family with God. The name of the program is the Casa de Nazaret, which in English translates to the House of Nazareth. Our goal is to help families become and mirror the example and image of the Holy Family that lived and is the true House of Nazareth.
Within this program we divide the families accordingly, the parents in one room, the young adults in another, the pre-teens in a separate room, and the adolescents in a different room each with its own respective leader or instructor. At the start of the program I had volunteered to work with the group of young adults ranging in ages from 15-24 years of age, not knowing what I was truly getting myself into. After the first meeting with the 15 or so young individuals that attended, I instantly became hooked and thanked God for allowing me to finally discover my true vocation and purpose in life.
I felt and still feel an instant connection to the Hispanic youth I support because I know firsthand what it is like being a Latin American teenager in today’s society; filled with all its stereotypes, expectations, and discrimination. My job is working directly and personally with each young person and focusing on their spiritual and professional development. This is a process that I believe begins as early as high school. From junior year the rigorous college planning process begins. Many students will be first generation college students or many times the parents of the students are working multiple jobs to be able to provide better lives for their children and simply do not have the time to learn how the process works. Thus I assist in helping high school students register and prepare for the SAT and ACT exams, scheduling college tours or visits, completing the CommonApp, completing the FAFSA, and searching for additional scholarships. I also think it is vital for undocumented students to realize that they have the opportunity to attend a university. This is necessary in order to continue along their intended career path as oppose to settling for working right out of high school and foregoing college altogether. Once in college I assist students in formulating a professional resume, continuing to complete the FAFSA annually, searching and applying for internships and jobs, and finding opportunities for them to assist and contribute to the local and global communities.
I see my work with the youth as a privilege and a blessing. I am fortunate enough that God has answered my prayers regarding my desires for a truly fulfilling vocation and job, at such a young age. The reason I feel so passionate about helping young individuals is because I want to see them go out into this world and make a difference in whatever field or area they love. Being able to be a part of this wonderful journey is extremely rewarding and goes to the idea that the most valuable currency in this world is love and legacy and not wealth or money. Young Latin Americans must realize that they have much to offer, they come from hard working families who have made many sacrifices to come to this country to seek a better life, and they can still excel and succeed regardless of the current political, social, or economic state. There are many resources out there for Latin American youth and my role is to be able to shine a light on them to show the young people of our communities that they can go to college and graduate and become nurses, doctors, accountants, engineers, and teachers, but most importantly the future leaders of our church.