7MIF Founder and Selection Committee Member
Why 7MIF Matters to Me
It is difficult to get out of the poverty cycle, but even more so to get out of the poverty mentality you’ve been a slave to. God has opened up doors I would never have imagined for my life. God’s promises are for all His children. They are yes and amen. They are “you can do all things through Him that gives you strength” (Philippians 3:14). 7MIF matters to me because young adults are giving up on their dreams. They have seen how school loan debt has stopped the American Dream on its tracks. They see their friends joining gangs and partaking of the world’s comforts with little effort or recourse. 7MIF will jump start young Hispanic’s lives and reignite the dreams they once had. Without faith it is impossible to please God. But without hope, how can one have faith, if faith is the substance of things hoped for? This scholarship program is completely about sowing seeds of hope back into those who have lost it. It is about influencing the world around you by being placed in positions of authority. Even if it takes years to see that influence happen in someone’s career, 7MIF will plant the first seed of hope. All for the glory of God.
About Nicole Collazo
I was born in Chile and am one of four children to parents that were in their teens when they had their first child. We migrated to Miami, FL when I was 5 years old in hope of a better life. Although I grew up in “America”, I didn’t feel I did since nearly all of my school friends and parent’s friends were also Hispanic from different countries all across the Caribbean, Central and South America. We all spoke Spanish and kept our cultures and customs alive in the household. I was, however, really poor growing up. My parents were too busy raising 4 kids to go to college; my mother could not even finish high school. My father’s calling was to be a pastor and teacher in the Lord and life was really hard for all of us. After my parents divorced when I was 12, life was just about surviving. I decided to make something of myself when I saw how hard my mother worked just to feed her 4 children. I still remember her laying in bed all day after work from how much her feet would hurt.
My good grades gave me a full ride to a local university and I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology. Learning was the only escape I had from my poverty. I decided to continue as a way to postpone the harsh reality of growing up. I then earned a Master of Science Degree in Geology at the University of California Santa Barbara. Upon graduation, I had a temporary government job, kept applying for full-time government jobs, and finally found one in Ventura County. Since then, my life has completely changed and I no longer look back to the poverty-stricken life I once had. I am a new creation in Jesus Christ and part of that is giving others hope with my story. I felt the Lord telling me just telling my story was not enough. That He placed me in a position where I can help in a more direct and impacting way. This scholarship program is a response to His call.
It was by God’s grace that I became the first college graduate in my family. I want to inspire other Hispanic young adults to keep looking ahead towards the future and all that God has promised for them as heirs to His Kingdom and a “life more abundant”. Always remember that only “He is able to do immeasurable more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).