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Check Out Yesenia Gonzalez’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yesenia Gonzalez. 

Hi Yesenia, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
When I was about 4 years old, my mom used to make bracelets for her friends as a gift. I come from a low-income family, so she couldn’t buy expensive gifts, and instead, she did these bracelets for them. 

I used to see her doing them, and I wanted to make them too. I used to sit next to her until she taught me how to do them. 

My mom also makes clothes, and at that time, she used to do yard sales, and for the little girls’ outfits, I used to do a bracelet so that my mom could hang it with the outfit and sell it. At the end, she would give me a dollar for each bracelet or outfit sold. 

I used to say I was going to be a “pulserera” when I grew up😂 (not a real word, but what I meant was a “businesswoman who makes bracelets”) 

Later, I also used to make some for my friends. When we moved to Mexico, I kept doing them and selling them at home until I started middle school. I started selling them there, and it was fun. 

Since I returned to the U.S., I had been wanting to start a jewelry business, but I did not know how to. It was until May 2021 that I finally did it with the purpose of continuing with my hobby and saving money for grad school. 

This is a small business that celebrates Mexican/Chicanx/Latinx culture, empowers women and first gen students, and brings awareness of social issues and mental health. 

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There have been a lot of struggles since the beginning. First of all, I had no idea how to start, but I’m so thankful for my friend that has helped me a lot. 

Additionally, there are times I have truly struggled with getting orders. It’s discouraging to the point that sometimes I think I’m just wasting my time and money, but here I am, not giving up and continue to work hard. 

Thanks – so, what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I graduated in May 2022 from CSU Dominguez Hills with my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Chicanx Studies. I am currently a graduate student also at CSUDH pursuing my master’s in Clinical Psychology + LPCC. I hope to become a bilingual therapist to help my community. 

I am also an advocate for mental health and social justice. I have an Instagram account (@cultura_empowerment) where I post things related to these topics. 

I am proud of being a first-gen, helping my family and community, making my ancestors proud, and of how far I’ve come. 

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I was always working hard on my school assignments, and I enjoyed learning new things. I was also very creative. Although, at that time, I didn’t have internet, I would watch certain TV shows that gave me more ideas. I used to find it hard to sit and do nothing. I had to be doing something, whether it was crafts, jewelry, puzzles, riding a bike, playing with my friends or neighbors, helping my parents, etc. 

Today not so much has changed. I always keep myself busy, but I try to remind myself of the importance of taking breaks. 

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