Title photo showing Selena Martinez talking into a microphone with the words Creating a Brighter Future The Selena Martinez Story

Houston, Texas,
08:00 AM

The Selena Martinez Story

Creating a Brighter Future



Selena Martinez is a confident freshman attending Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. With her bubbly personality and sunny outlook, no one would ever guess that just a few years ago, Selena was homeless and faced significant financial challenges.

A photo of Selena Martinez smiling next to a flowering tree and with a band of flowers around her head.

While Selena was a student at Reagan High School in Houston, Texas, her brother was medically discharged from the military after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Selena’s brother moved back in with his parents and siblings, where he attempted to murder Selena’s father and destroyed the family’s home. After her brother’s arrest, Selena’s father became depressed and turned to alcohol to curb his emotions. Frustrated by her father’s drinking, Selena confronted him. In his drunken state, he told her to “Get out!”

“Life is Not Going to Wait on You”

With no income or place to go, Selena slept on the couches of friends and family for a few days until she would move on to another. During that school year, Selena and her classmates received financial literacy lessons from a Junior Achievement volunteer. Before leaving the classroom, the Junior Achievement volunteer encouraged Selena and her classmates to keep pushing forward, because “life is not going to wait on you.” Through the volunteer’s lessons and encouragement, it was the first time Selena understood how personal finance and work readiness affected her future.


Selena used the financial lessons and some creativity, to begin selling her artwork and custom t-shirts. Soon, she had an income which she used to end her homelessness and climb toward success. By senior year, Selena was voted class president, rose to the rank of National Honor Society Vice President, and became an award-winning poet. And then the acceptance letter came from Bryn Mawr College.

Selena Martinez in her cap and gown smiling as she is being presented her high school diploma by two school officials

Major Possibilities

Martinez plans to major in psychology and minor in film to understand further how film impacts all demographics and how to strengthen it as an educational resource.

“I plan on moving towards any careers in marketing with intentions to promote education,” Martinez said. “I’m open minded to all possibilities, just as long as I’m making a difference.”

State Farm is proud to provide financial literacy education grants to organizations like Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas to afford students like Selena opportunities to learn and comprehend the importance of income, budgeting, and saving as they make their way to a brighter, more financially-solid future.