My name is Osvaldo Ortiz, but like my friends do, you can call me “Ozzie”. I’ve been married since2004. I have three grown daughters. I have a grandson.
You might think this Ozzie is 60-odd, but in fact, I’m only 40 years old. Likely the oldest 40 year old in the world.
While I now live in Phoenix, Arizona, my journey began in a rural border-town in Southern California. I am a first generation born to U.S. Mexican immigrant parents, and the youngest of fiveboys. This all-male brotherhood was raised in a pretty rough part of town, and I watched from thesidelines as my siblings were sucked into the spiral of drugs, crime, and violence. From a very young age. The cops were regulars at our house.
However, they weren’t there for me. I decided early on that I wasn’t about that life. I wanted to leadby example and create trends, not follow them. I wanted to seek meaningful ways to overcome adversity, instead of resorting to external coping mechanisms and behaviors like drugs and crime. After finding the strength to slip out of the shadows of depression, loneliness, and a cripplingidentity crisis, I was reborn through Christ
I’ve let His teachings guide every move I make, and I have never looked back.
I went on to attend Bible College and earned a degree in Theology – although I did not intend topursue the Ministry life. But little did I know what God had in store for me – we’ll get to that in a moment.
From a very young age, my dream was clear: I wanted to own and operate my own food service concept. At the very least, I wanted to work in this industry. And the moment I tasted specialty coffee for the first time, my fate was sealed – I knew this was my destiny!
Before long, I was holding by “Master Barista” certificate, obtained in scenic Italy. And I wasted notime in opening my first retail specialty coffee shop in 2007, Anazao Coffee Co. in Imperial, CA.
Everything was going according to plan – until a series of unfortunate events closed my business.
Don’t feel too bad for me though. I was determined to maintain my momentum in the specialty coffee industry, and since then, my determination saw me opening three more coffee and foodconcepts – among a sprinkle of other startups that I’ve launched since.
Most notably during that time, I decided to enter vocational ministry as a Youth Pastor – where I spent 8 years serving, teaching, and mentoring the future today. It was here that I truly realized the issues facing our current generation.
The obvious lack of purpose, direction, and integrity. But also the less obvious lack of identity and following of pop trends and thoughts with none of their own. There was a disturbing in difference and lack of responsibility for their actions. However, by nature of my role, I also got see what was happening behind the facades. Many stories of sexual abuse, depression, broken homes, crippling loneliness, hopelessness, and an undeniable thread of fatherlessness.
I couldn’t sit and watch any longer without taking action. And that’s when my wife, Apryl, and Ilaunched Strength & Dignity Life, Inc. in 2018. As a nonprofit ministry, we focus on mentoring andequipping young women with the tools they need to shatter the shackles of the past, take control oftheir present and future, and make a real impact on their culture.After some time passed, it made sense to launch the Purpose Project XXI in 2020 under theStrength & Dignity Life umbrella, targeting young men and helping them solve the uniquechallenges they too face.
At the heart of it all lies my mission to ensure our future leaders do not live life by default;meaningless and unfulfilled. We have a choice – and I want to help as many people aspossible make the right one. For their sake, for their family’s sake, and for the sake of theunborn generations of tomorrow