Saul Flores walked 5,328 miles through ten countries to document how grueling and dangerous the journey of immigrants to the United States can be and to raise money for an elementary school in Atencingo, Mexico. The story of his journey, accompanied by a series of photographs, capture the essence of the people, communities, and cultures he encountered along the way.
▪Diversity ▪First Generation College Students
▪Latina/o Issues ▪Leadership ▪Personal Growth
▪Philanthropy ▪Service Learning ▪Social Justice
Saul Flores walked 5,328 miles through ten countries to document how grueling and dangerous the journey of immigrants to the United States can be and to raise money for an elementary school in Atencingo, Mexico.
The story of his journey, accompanied by a series of photographs, capture the essence of the people, communities, and cultures he encountered along the way
After this life-changing experience, Saul now wants to inspire students to make a positive impact on the world by speaking about the value of servant leadership, philanthropy, and service-learning.
Saul Flores (pronounced sah–ool), is a philanthropist, photojournalist, and speaker who is nationally recognized for his social impact projects. Through his most recent project, Saul documents the amazing lives of thousands of Latin American immigrants to fundraise for an elementary school in his mother’s hometown.
His work has been featured on National Public Radio, MSNBC, and TEDX. Additionally, Saul has been featured as a keynote speaker for dozens of universities, inspiring audiences through his visual presentations, in which he helps people realize the capacity of their immense human potential given times of extreme adversity.
The following are past entries Saul has written for the CAMPUSPEAK Speaker’s Voice Blog
- The Step I Won’t Forget
- The Kid From Atencingo
- 10 Things You Should Know to Support your Latinx Students
Motivation & Inspriation
Connect With Saul
“Saul was absolutely amazing to work with. We are a small campus that is 85% students of color — many who have stories like Saul’s. It was profound to see them hearing and seeing a speaker that looks and sounds like them, and whose life mirrors theirs. Saul put students at ease and was able to create a space where they felt vulnerable and heard. The presentation content itself is so important and so moving, and I think that my students especially resonated with the message. He was an absolute pleasure to work with.”
“I loved having Saul Flores on campus. His communication before the event was great, and he was a pleasure to work with on campus. His story was powerful and he engaged our students in a way that captured their attention and made them experience emotion. I didn’t even see one cell phone out! Working with CAMPUSPEAK (Michael Hood specifically) was incredibly easy, and I knew exactly what to expect during the whole process. While the price-points for the CAMPUSPEAK roster is out of my traditional price range for a speaker, I will continue to keep you in mind for future special events.”
“Saul was our Keynote speaker for the Emerging Leader One Day Conference. At the end of the day we asked for students to share their Ah-ha moments. Many of them spoke about Saul and how they are now inspired to act because of the stories he shared.”
“This is the story of a type of persistence and resourcefulness that is astounding at any age, in any setting or in any country. Saul Flores is the real deal. And to know Saul Flores–and this may sound trite, but it isn’t–is to love him, to be crazy about him, and to be inspired by him.”
“It’s a story that Flores tells so modestly, with such an understatement, that at first you don’t quite grasp the gravity of it.”
“Saul did a great job with engaging with a small crowd of students that had learning disabilities. I would love to bring him back to campus as I build the Multicultural program here at Beacon College.”
In this program, Saul shares his story of helping others in need to emphasize the value of servant leadership, and how to give back to different communities through service-learning initiatives and humanitarian projects.
On a service-learning spring break trip to his mother’s hometown, Saul discovered a withering cinderblock elementary school, flowered by beautiful fields of sugarcane. Struck by the charm and contrastingly severe poverty of the six-classroom building, Saul decided to act.
He found the students living in aluminum shanties and sleeping on the floor, lacking motivation for school. Determined to help make a difference in the lives of the children, and armed with the knowledge that education provides youth a solid foundation, Saul made it his mission to raise funds to reconstruct their school.
After an arduous three-year labor of love, and with the help of a community of scholars wanting to make a difference, the 134 elementary students graduated in a newly reconstructed school.
As a result of attending this program, students will learn:
- how finding purpose beyond just themselves allows them to accomplish much more,
- how serving others is leadership,
- the value of service-learning trips and giving back to communities, and
- how to use their skills and talents in service of others.
From Where I Stand:
From helping his mother scrub penthouse suites in Manhattan to learning broken English with his sister, Saul’s humble beginnings started in Brooklyn, New York. Now, he wants to share his story to inspire college students to persevere no matter the circumstance.
Growing up with little-to-no resources, Flores persisted through the economic barriers that prevented him and his family from attaining the American Dream. As a high school senior, Flores spent his afternoons applying to universities and scholarships, knowing that it was going to take more than grades for him to attend college.
As the first person in his family to graduate high school, Flores received more than 20 scholarships from organizations like McDonald’s, Mercedes Benz, Walmart, BI-LO, The Hispanic Scholarship Fund, and was offered a seat in the Caldwell Fellows Program at NC State.
Whether you’re a first-generation college student or a freshman in a new leadership role, Saul will inspire students to overcome their personal barriers to live up to their fullest potential.
As a result of attending the program, students will learn:
- That perseverance can help students overcome any obstacle
- How to empathize with individuals from underserved communities
- That adversity can fuel personal growth
- How first-generation students can change the world
The Walk of the Immigrants
Saul spent three months walking, hitchhiking, and sleeping on the ground and in hiding places. His journey began in Ecuador and ended in Charlotte, North Carolina. In three months, he walked 5,328 miles through ten countries and nine border crossings to document how grueling and dangerous the journey of immigrants to the United States can be and to raise money for an elementary school in Atencingo, Mexico.
In this keynote, Saul speaks about how as a North Carolina State University senior, he took the “Walk” in the summer of 2010. Student audiences get the opportunity to relive The Walk of the Immigrants along with Saul and create a deeper understanding of the struggles, hardships, joy, and hope that immigrants experience on their journey.
As a result of attending this program, students will learn:
- how to connect their passion with purpose,
- the value of learning about different cultures and communities, and
- how immigrant communities try to overcome adversity in the United States.
Grit is Greatness
From getting accepted to college to landing your dream job, grit is what makes us truly great. Regardless of our background, status, or intelligence, grit is the great equalizer. In this program, Saul explains how students can harness the power of grit to work toward purpose-driven goals. Using storytelling, discussion, and practical exercises, students will feel empowered to develop gritty habits and use grit as a tool for navigating the college journey.
As a first-generation college student born into a family of sugarcane workers, Saul learned the power of grit at an early age. Upon arriving in America, his mother would juggle multiple jobs, and his grandmother would trade aluminum cans for coins to provide for Saul and his family. From experiencing personal hardship to navigating how to get into college, grit became key in Saul’s journey to achieving his goals.
This program is great for leadership conferences, first-year experience programming, orientations, or anyone who is ready to get gritty.
As a result of attending this program, students will:
- Be able to identify and understand the key aspects of grit,
- Walk away with an understanding of their own journey of grit,
- Learn how to develop gritty habits in their personal, academic, and professional lives, and
- Explore how developing a culture of grit in their respective communities can help with long-term success.