From a young age, Graciela felt la vida no siempre es justa—life isn’t always fair. The feeling came from the things she saw while growing up in a neighborhood filled with gang violence. As a result, she resolved to keep her head down and remain as invisible as possible.
When Graciela joined Girls Inc., this all changed. Here, she found her inner strength, confidence, and courage. She was exposed to YESS, a program that equips girls with the skills to make informed decisions about their money and empowers them to become entrepreneurs. After Nathan, a Girls Inc. mentor she described at the time as “the scary man with big voice,” told her not to settle when you’re “destined for something much greater,” she felt for the first time that she was no longer invisible. Graciela credits Nathan with helping her discover her voice. Stepping into a leadership role through YESS proved to Graciela that she could do anything she set her mind to and to never settle for anything small.
Today, Graciela is a $20,000 Girls Inc. National Scholar recipient who is pursuing a bachelor in entrepreneurship—her high school passion—from San Jose State University. Her dream is to own her own bakery with her best friend.
“My childhood may have been a living nightmare, but thanks to Girls Inc. I am now safe to dream again.”
Continue to dream and achieve big, Graciela. We cannot wait to see what your future holds!