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“Raul speaks from his heart and his personal story is very touching.  By sharing his struggles he helps children and youth see that they can be resilient and bounce back from adversity.”

~Kelly Wierzbinski, Rainbow Days, Inc.


“Raul has taught me that you may not be the smartest person in the world but all you need are two things: Perseverance and Dedication. After that, there is nothing that can stop you from achieving your goals.”

~Manuel Caballero, MacArthur High School Class of 2012 Graduate


“Raul Magdaleno has an uncanny ability to communicate to students their present and future potential, worth and importance …His story, passion and sincerity will move students in unimaginable  constructive ways. Students leave his speeches empowered and stimulated to create changes in their lives immediately. I have first-hand knowledge as a young person who once was impacted by Mr. Magdaleno’s transformational message.”

~Fernando Rubio, Jr. 


“Raul Magdeleno not only talks the talk, he walks the walk and provides inspiration to those who think they have been left behind. He challenges young people  to use creative energies to focus on alternative futures and dream big!  Raul’s speaking prowess inspires all age groups to be the best they can be!  As a master orator, he is a must listen to!”

~Delores Elder-Jones, Civil Rights Leader


“We seldom encounter someone who touches your life in such a way that you choose to be better and do better. Raul Magdaleno is that type of person. He has not allowed personal adversity to interfere with his ability to impact others and he makes you feel as if you shouldn’t either.”

~Dora Morón, Department of World Languages Director of Irving ISD


“Raul teaches you how to love yourself, not so that you may grow in pride, but so that you may grow in humility to serve others in the spirit of excellence.”

~Luis Veloz, Woodrow Wilson High School Class of 2012 Graduate


“Words sprung to life as they graciously flowed from his grinning lips. His captivating energy seemed to electrify everyone in the room and for once, just once, I believed. I believed that my dreams could become reality, that my hopes could take form, that my life could develop into so much more. My spirit awakened and everyone, young students and adults, in the room sat up a little bit straighter, slightly leaning in. The room filled with forty Hispanic students felt the inspiration and initiative to attain the impossible simply by the stirring words of Raul Magdaleno.

Before this man gained the fame he has today of a One Man Dallas candidate, the title of ‘The Epitome of a Purpose Driven Life’ by Informate DFW magazine, and his own Magdaleno Leadership Institute encouraging and rewarding students for their achievements, he spoke for me and 39 others about never giving up. Sure, we had heard this same phrase throughout our entire life, when we didn’t understand a problem, when we were learning to ride a bike, or when teachers halfheartedly included the magic words during a random rant. This time, the words took on a sincere and powerful life in comparison to all the other times. Raul propelled ‘Don’t Give Up!’ into the air, maintaining it afloat with his own life story of a homeless teenager coming from a violent household to becoming an SMU graduate that achieved so much more. He made the words tangible and meaningful. If this man, coming from a background worse than mine could accomplish what he did, why couldn’t I? Ever since that day, being a young Latina woman represents to me opportunity, pride, and leadership.

Fortunately, this all happened my summer of freshman year because afterwards Vanessa Serrano transformed into a confident, persistent, and optimistic young lady that enjoyed what she did and challenged herself in all perspectives. Since elementary school, I was looked upon as a lost cause that only showed some potential to a few Hispanic teachers all because of the color of my skin. The hopeless and disapproving looks from some of my teachers conveyed the set in stone idea that I would get nowhere in life because I was destined to fail. The Hispanic stereotype followed me everywhere and weighed my dreams down, but instinctively I held on to my dreams despite the long yellow brick road with good and bad witches waiting on the sides. When Raul Magdanelo began speaking, I instantly recognized the fighting spirit within him, the desire to be more than what others believed him capable of, and I finally felt that weight released. He taught me that being Hispanic should not hold us back and cover up the potential stored within us, and that we should carry out our dreams because nothing is out of reach.

Another quality he expressed so brilliantly was that of being proactive in life and not allowing negative events, big or small, define the person we are through negative reactions. We have to shun the impulse of reacting negatively to a negative situation and transform it to where it’s a positive situation and becomes a habit we can exercise automatically. Thanks to my AVID teacher presenting this opportunity to be part of the Hispanic Youth Foundation, I could learn so much more about life, college, and the power of education. To this day I hold closely to my heart Raul Magdaleno’s words, ‘Don’t Give Up.'”

 ~Irving ISD High School Student

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