Today we’d like to introduce you to Vanessa Gutierrez.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the organization, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Born in El Salvador and smuggled in to the US as a baby, I am a dreamer in every sense of the word.
I didn’t go to college. Growing up going to college never seemed like a feasible option, and it wasn’t because my single undocumented mom of 3 couldn’t afford it (which she couldn’t). I was under the impression that I couldn’t go to college because I was undocumented. A lot of the options that are now available were not in place during the time I was looking into obtaining a degree.
No regrets, but I could have benefitted from guidance and financial support to pursue higher education. As I got older I couldn’t help but feel a sense of responsibility to set some type of infrastructure to minimize my lack of college experience for as many girls as possible and what better place to implement such a dream than in my motherland of El Salvdor.
That is how the dream grew into is the organization called Las Girls in Action.
Has it been a smooth road?
Las Girls in Action had a privilege to sponsor an extremely bright girl a few months ago, but had disappointing fall out with a partnership we formed after not receiving expense reports, updates, or progress reports on a student we were sponsoring in El Salvador. It broke our hearts to have to stop the scholarship of our first recipient, but we have obligations to our donors to prove that we are using the funds towards our mission.
Not everyone understands that as grass roots as an operation may be it has to be treated with the same respect of a multi million dollar organization, at the end of the day we all have the same legal obligations.
The nonprofit world can be tricky in the sense that everyone that signs up to help, might just be signing up to help themselves. Our teams is to make sure that as an organization policies and procedures are in place to room for error, in order to stay focused on the mission.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Las Girls in Action – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Having a great team is what I am most proud of. From our volunteers, to our consultant, and each on of the intelligent leaders on the board of directors.
We are able to practice what we preach, sisterhood, and the empowerment of women. Genuinely working towards building a strong team and constantly having an open dialogue on reinforcing each other and our mission.
A continuous bump in the road is my not being able to physically go back and forth to and from El Salvador. However, we recently appointed a Director of External Affairs and she has hit the ground running in her role. She is building relationships and structuring partnerships and I could not be more proud.
What sets us apart is our resilience to stick together despite personalities and personal beliefs, for the facilitation of education of women and to provide opportunities that might otherwise feel out of reach. To provide a girl the tools to set her plan into action.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Even though I was born in El Salvador, Los Angeles is my home this is where I grew up and it is all I know. So what do I like about it? The new found Salvi-American community that has formed via social media that allows us to connect all over the Los Angeles weather it’s at our local pupuseria in Pico-Union, a new coffee shop in K-Town, or a bar near Westlake. We are actively connected to our roots but can freely embrace the liberties, and beauty of this city.
My least favorite thing, completely off topic is that Silverlake is the new Hollywood.
- Memberships start at $15 and every level has perks.
- Most events range from $10.00 – $25.00
- Website: www.lasgirlsinaction.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @lasgirlsinaction
- Address : 750 W. 7th Street #811413 Los Angeles CA, 90081