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Daily Inspiration: Meet Faviana Gonzalez

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

Hi Faviana, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I was born in Northridge, CA specifically the Northridge Hospital so I suppose I am an SFV native! While I have spent most of my life here in California, I did spend some of my adolescent years in Medellin, Colombia and DF, Mexico. My parents divorced at a young age and my mom was forced to play the role of mother and father more often than not. Seeing my mother’s struggles, I always strived to be independent and be able to give back not only to my mother but others who were in the same situation. However, I must thank my stepdad for being a great role model once he entered our lives. I do have two brothers and one sister, but I grew up and am closest with my youngest brother, Fabian. He was diagnosed with autism at the age of three and his struggles, unique personality, and caring nature taught me patience and that life is not always seen through the same lens. I owe so much of who I am to him and his experiences. He encourages me to be more open-minded, caring, and an overall better person. As an adult, I have focused on breaking generational cycles of trauma and stigmas. I am so blessed to have a loving partner who supports me in my healing and all endeavors.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Like most people, I have had struggles and a bumpy road, but I would not change one thing, as cliche as that may sound. Most of my life, I resided with my mother but at the age of 11 I was sent to Mexico City after she lost her cleaning business. While in Mexico, I faced physical abuse, homelessness, and substance abuse. Once I was able to return at the age of 13, I was diagnosed with an ovarian tumor that affected and caused me to lose my left ovary and ovarian tube. I believe having gone through some of this trauma, pain, and stress at such a young age forced me to become a fighter and suppressed an anxiety that fully developed and made its presence known at the age of 21. After deciding to terminate a pregnancy, a decision that was made by me and supported by my still partner. Unfortunately, we were unprepared to be parents due to lack of financial security, unhealthy lifestyle, and much more. But this decision allowed to grow and change the direction of my life. I have been sober of everything but cannabis products and lead a much more healthy life. With my sobriety came my journey with anxiety and bipolar depression. Thanks to the support of my partner, family, and close friends, I have been able to find my path to recovery and continue to strive to be a better me every day. While I have no regrets, I do wish I could tell the younger me to be patient because it does get better.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Growing up, I always pictured myself working in the legal field and being a lawyer. However, after a few years in the industry I realized that my passion would be better utilized in the non-profit world. I have always wanted to give back and have more direct engagement with my immediate community. After deciding to make a shift in my career, I knew that I wanted to do something that directly impacted the SFV and that I can personally connect with. I joined the NAMI San Fernando Valley as the Education Director in Feb 2021 and am now acting as the Operations Director. As the Operations Director, I ensure that all departments are meeting the forecasted goals and the demand of the community per program. We offer educational classes and support groups surrounding mental health in English and Spanish so we need to build relationships to inform the community of these services. I also oversee the yearly budgets and focus on locating fundraising opportunities to support our reserve. As a non-profit, we depend solely on grants and donations so fundraisers and visibility are extremely important. This is one of my main focuses, which also allows me to be creative. My goal is to be the bridge for my Latin community and ensure that are aware that they have free mental health resources available. In addition, to continue to create dialogue to break the stigma in creative and impactful ways.

What do you like and dislike about the city?
I love the diversity of our city and that it offers! One of the things that I like is that we seem to be viewed as more open-minded than other states which makes me appreciate our community even more. I do wish that our local government did a better job in creating livable wages and home cost or lease limits. The increase in homelessness has increased rapidly and I believe the cost of living has played a huge factor in this.

Contact Info:

  • Email: Faviana.gonzalez@namisfv.org
  • Website: www.namisfv.org
  • Instagram: Faviiie


Image Credits:

The group picture is a picture from my annual Heal the Hunger SFV which has benefited our homeless community since 2019.

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