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Meet Kristine Acosta of GRL Collective in Downey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristine Acosta.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kristine. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I grew up in a little of everywhere. As a kid, I moved from Rosemead to Whittier to Hacienda Heights to Victorville until finally settling in Fontana for my high school years. I grew up in the Christian Church, was involved in ASB at school & cheerleading. When I was a senior, my sister passed away. She had a rare chromosomal defect known as Trisomy 18. The doctors only expected her to live 6 months-1 year but she lived for 13. She was our miracle. At the time, she was my only sister and although, I knew since I was 4 years old how sick she was, it didn’t hurt any less. I went to college and graduated in 2011, majoring in broadcasting. I went on to work in the music industry. From power 106 and Def Jam to Warner Bros. and management.

A couple years ago, my #MeToo story went to trial. The abuse had happened years ago but it all started to surface around 2015. The abuser was my stepfather of 15 years. I testified in court for a grueling 8 hours as I watched everyone that supported me stay strong through all of it. He was sentenced to life in prison for the childhood molestation of myself and two other victims. Post trial a lot of emotions happened that I feel none of the stories currently out speak about. The fall out of your family. It broke me, finally. I quit my job at a marketing agency and planned a 40-day solo volunteer trip to Jodhpur, India. The Sambhali Trust was the program I found. They have a no bad touch program teaching young girls about sexual abuse and molestation. I felt it was very important in a country where 1 in every 2 children are sexually abused. I was terrified to travel in a part of the world I had never been alone, but I just felt that God was sending me there for a reason.

The trip changed my life. The women and girls that I met through the empowerment program changed my perception of life forever. On my flight back home, I cried so much I literally felt like I had no more tears to cry. I realized how important education was for these girls so that they could free themselves from a country and a patriarchy that is constantly fighting against them. When I got home, I officially started my company GRL Collective. GRL Collective donates one dollar of every purchase to funding these girls education in India.

Has it been a smooth road?
It was not an easy road and I used to envy the people who got to take one of those roads. I know now that this road let me to where I am today and gifted me the compassion to try to make a difference in peoples lives.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the GRL Collective story. Tell us more about the business.
GRL Collective is a full female fueled Collective. We have five facets. Retail, volunteering, traveling, networking and mentorship. So far, we have launched the retail, volunteer and travel sectors. Retail includes handmade accessories that are sold to fund the education of young girls in Jodhpur, India. The volunteer and the travel portion are a package this year as I am leading a group of women back to Jodhpur to volunteer with the women and girls I worked with last year. Next year the volunteer portion will also include local women and girls. There is also a networking group called The GRL Collective that currently is 200 girls who work in entertainment but will be expanding to all different sectors of the work force. These girls will be the leaders in our mentorship program as well. We plan on taking panels of women to speak to young high school and college girls about the importance of education, the power of sisterhood and mentoring them through applying for jobs and more. I think what’s sets us apart from other companies is the many things we are rolling out to offer to women and girls as well as the monetary focus on young girls education.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The future is female, so I believe the only way from here is up!

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