Ivan Paz - Mystery Check
Ivan was born in Los Angeles from immigrant parents his mother from El Salvador and Father from Mexico. At a young age Ivan's father was deported. His mother was forced to move into an apartment complex and had to obtain two jobs in order to make ends meet. By the age of 12, Ivan began a new journey on the streets, getting in trouble and being arrested. He was absorbed into gang life at 15 and was thrust into a lifestyle of continual gang violence.
At age 18 Ivan was arrested and sentenced to 8 years in prison for gang violence. During his time in prison something began calling to him and wasn't quite sure what it was, but he felt he had to educate himself. Though dropping out of school at age 12 he now began to educate himself in the prison starting from an elementary level education to a college level during the course of his 5 year stay in prison. Upon being released he began attending community college but with lack of money and finding it difficult to find a job due to his criminal history he became discouraged and desperate. In order to attend school and pay bills he was contemplating returning to a life of crime. As amazing as this sounds he was blessed with a mysterious gift. To this day Ivan does not know where this mystery gift came from but it was a check made out to the college to pay for his education. This mystery check arrived 2 more times throughout his college career and Ivan graduated from Fresno Pacific University. Ivan now works for Fresno Institute For Urban Leadership ( fiful.org) and runs a program called The Pink House. This is a program that brings college people from different walks of life to live together in one of the poorest areas of Fresno to become quality urban leaders by engaging transformation in the innercity context.