Woman Wednesday: Nancy

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.        


Q and A with Nancy, Puerto Rico

“Life is all about working with what bothers us, not giving power to the problem but looking for solutions. And it is precisely why I tell my story. I had all the reasons to give up and be a “no one” in life.”

 

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I was born in North Carolina, USA, but I grew up in Puerto Rico. I have an incredible mix of culture and beliefs and I’m fully bilingual, thanks to this.  I’m the mother of a girl who is 17 and a boy who is 9. I’m a coach, educator, lecturer/motivator, host of a radio program “Lazos Latinos” and businesswoman–President of Family Secret Helpers, Inc., and Founder of the projects: BEmpower Women, Strong Military Family and Fundación Félix Fuentes. Also, I’m the creator of the event Mujer Empoderando (a women empowerment event).

 

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Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I love to help and empower people, families, couples, and the community. Seeing the transformation in people is something incredible. Many times, people just need help, a word of motivation to help them take a step and get out of their current situation, turn their passions/ideas into a business or make decisions. I like to work for causes, give a voice to those that can’t talk, help the needy, put on the worker’s boots, and reach out to those who feel lost. These things bring me emotion. I feel that I am collaborating to make our world better, and I know it may sound very common, but it is a reality, the satisfaction that I get when I see the transformations is one of the best feelings that I have been able to experience.

 

Another detail is that I feel good knowing that my kids are seeing me as a positive example. After all, they are the future. Seeing their faces when we achieve a goal and see them get involved in our projects gives me peace knowing that whatever happens, our legacy will continue for generations. I worked for 11 years as a teacher and then I directed educational projects in a nonprofit corporation. I became certified in coaching and studied psychology, all in order to be able to help people.

 

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In 2012, I founded my nonprofit corporation, Family Secret Helpers, Inc. During the last few years, we have been able to help families, people, and communities. We have had ups and downs, but today, we are on a very good road. Family Secret Helpers has a mission to provide empowerment tools to people who need to balance their lives and rebuild their relationships–personally and professionally through our events, training programs, and coaching training.

 

 

Q: What were your younger years like?

A: The first years of my life were very difficult. My parents got divorced when I was 12. My mother understood that the best thing for my brother and I was to live in Puerto Rico. When I lived with both of my parents, I experienced domestic violence. I swore that if one day I was a mother, I would do everything possible so that my children would not go through what my brother and I lived through. Thanks to the experiences, today I am who I am and I am dedicated to helping people.

 

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Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know? 

A: We have all gone through times when we thought we could not continue, moments when we thought we could not get out of that situation, at which time we felt that the roof of our house was falling on us.

The reality is that we all have drowned in a glass of water. We have all faced great challenges. We all have failed. We have all had a voice that has told us that we cannot do it. We have all been through a betrayal. Some have experienced more intensity than others, but we all have lived a moment in our lives that we would like to erase or not remember. The question is, what stops you from living that life which you have dreamed? The answer: YOU!

 

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During the last few years, I have had the opportunity to work with many people, help them find their passion, find the tools so they can live the life they have always dreamed of and overcome their fear to make important decisions in their life. I remember one Sunday, after finishing my radio program, I received a phone call from one of the radio listeners, who thanked me because she had been thinking about committing suicide. I can tell you that moment I had goosebumps, she told me for some reason she had put on the station and listened to the program that day, the words I had said helped her understand that the solution was not to end her life, but to face that which tormented her so much.

Life is all about working with what bothers us, not giving power to the problem but looking for solutions. And it is precisely why I tell my story. I had all the reasons to give up and be a “no one” in life. I offer people tools so that they can leave the comfort zone and dare them to start doing wonderful things and see life with different eyes. I know that those who lived with me during the dark stages of my life are surprised with who I became, as I’m also sure that those who know me now would be surprised to know that I had such a dark past.

Most people, especially women, think about the idea that we should live the life that society has prescribed for us. If we deviate from that path, they ridicule us, label us, and isolate us.

 

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism is a movement that pursues social change by combating the discrimination suffered by women for the simple fact of being a woman. In these times, there are countries where being a woman is really complicated due to the suppression of rights and the discrimination that exists. There are places where women, for the simple fact of being so, have to fight against social barriers and injustices: forced marriage, veto in politics, or wage inequality–just some of them.

I confess that as I write these lines, my eyes are full of tears. I find it so difficult to believe in these times there are so many women living a life with so many limitations, submerged to what society decides.

 

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Today, there are many women who are in charge of organizations that serve to empower women. Groups that help other women to leave abusive relationships. Companies that offer women tools to convert their ideas and passions into businesses. One of these is our project, BEmpower Women. Like this project, there are many groups to support you. This means that you are not alone and that there is no reason to walk on this new route alone.

What I have learned with my work is the power of women. We have to be available, open, and receptive to make enormous transformations in us. I invite you to continue, believe, empower yourself, and to know you will find excellent tools that will help and motivate you. Don’t ever give up!

Finally, my mission does not end–while there are women who are not yet free. Empowering women and fighting for the rights of women is a mission I will continue for many years.

Links to my site/social media:

Website/Blog: www.familysecrethelpers.com

Facebook:
@FamilySecretHelpers
@BEmpowerWomen
@StrongMilitaryFamily

Instagram:
@familysecrethelpers
@bempower_women
@strongmilitaryfamily

 

Family Secret Helpers has other projects:

– Strong Military Family helps to empower and assist veterans, military, and their families.
– BEmpower Women empowers women in different facets of their lives.
– Fundación Felix Fuentes, the most recent project that joined our services, offers support groups, coaching, and assistance to those who are experiencing the grieving process.
– Mujer Empoderando event gives women who are business owners the opportunity to exhibit, promote, and sell their products and services. In the event, we also offer talks and workshop in the business, personal growth, beauty, health, and lifestyle areas.

In addition, I am the author of the book, Compartiendo Vivencias, which is for sale at amazon.com. The book’s goal is to empower those who read it. I am in the process of finishing my second book, Empútate. This book is going to empower, inspire, and motivate women.

To learn more about what we do, you can visit www.familysecrethelpers.com

 

Connect with me! I’d love to chat with you! 

Comment below!

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Woman Wednesday: Lasheika

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.        


Q and A with Lasheika, Miami, Florida

“Everything happens for a reason, and don’t regret a thing because it’s all a part of your journey.”

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: Hi, my name is Lasheika. I am a mom of five boys and an author of experiences. I recently began my blogging journey, but my love of writing was recognized in middle school. I love to write and now that I’ve had experiences in love, life, family, and marriage. I choose to share those experiences with other moms in the hopes of them gaining more insight, support, and encouragement.

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Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was raised by my mom and step father. Just having a nonexistent relationship with my biological dad was enough for me to go looking for love in all of the wrong places. I became a mom at the age of 17, which was one of the most scariest and happiest times of my life. Two weeks after giving birth, I returned back to school. I graduated three months later. The birth of my son was a true game-changer for me. Seeing this little human made me push past my own emotions and shoot beyond the stars. Now, five kids later, I was more determined than ever to find my purpose. I felt that by having five kids and being able to maintain my sanity was something that I could share with the world. Me feeling neglected and then me finding love in my marriage and through the births of my children have me wanting to share my experiences with those who faced similar challenges.

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Q: What is something valuable you’ve learned that you’d like others to know? 

A: I would want other women to stay encouraged, continue pushing forward in faith. Believe and know that God will never leave nor forsake you. Most importantly, nothing is a mistake. Everything happens for a reason, and don’t regret a thing because it’s all a part of your journey.

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Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism is our unique flawlessness. It’s the strength that we possess that no other has. It’s our ability to bear weight that only we can carry. It’s our boldness, our beauty, our courage and strength to overcome.

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Connect with me! I’d love to chat with you! 

Comment below!

 

Woman Wednesday: Caitlin

*Note: Woman Wednesday is a part of our blog. Each Woman Wednesday post will feature a woman who would like to share information in the hopes of inspiring and motivating other women. Comments are welcome below.


 

Q and A with Caitlin, College Park, Maryland

 

“Even the person who seems to have it the most together has problems, and we are all one big mess. I learned that what I considered to be a weakness was actually a strength that allowed me to help others with the same issues. I remember saying that I hated my life, that I wanted to be someone else, someone normal. Your day is coming. You just have to take those baby steps until they become great strides. Then one day, you will look back and only have some memories of that time, long ago, when you were struggling. If I can do it, you can do it. We are no different. Set your mind, and keep it set.” -Caitlin 

 

Q: What are you passionate about?

A: I currently work as a Kitchen and Bath Designer, and I absolutely love the ability to get creative and face challenges head on with my clients. I enjoy painting, hiking, and reading in my free time. Yoga has always been something that helps ground me and keeps me energized for the day ahead.

But let me tell you about my real passion— my family! I have a super energetic seven-year-old who LOVES arts and crafts! We have a poodle named, “Georgia” who keeps us busy and loves cuddling with us! As a single mother, there is never a dull moment! I am passionate about many things. As far as being a mother, there is nothing more rewarding and challenging all at the same time. My daughter has taught me 2 things. #1 to ALWAYS have fun no matter what and #2 to never stop asking questions.

 

939F3AB6-959F-4B83-8095-A5515C2C4F59.jpegPictured: Poodle, Georgia 

 

5F0936A8-10E3-4D61-AD4D-77AF4BFFCBF9.jpegPictured: Caitlin and her daughter 

 

 Q: What were your younger years like?

A: First, let me tell you that I am the oldest of 6 children. Oldest child + Big family = Great responsibility. There is a really large age gap (16 years between me and my youngest brother). I assumed title of “mothers helper” around the age of ten. This meant changing diapers, babysitting, meal prep… the whole nine yards. My youngest two siblings were high risk pregnancies so my mom was at UMD after they were born for awhile. Due to her absence, I really had to step up and help my dad take care of the other children still left at home. As much as I resented my childhood being “cut short,” it taught me a lot. I attribute my OCD responsibility and “take charge” attitude from that point in my life. At a very young age I took on the responsibility of “mother” and learned very quickly that waking up in the middle of the night with a 4 year old who’s having night terrors and a 1 year old who’s hungry, isn’t the best of predicaments. I learned about balance, how to put others needs first, and how to work as a team with my parents to achieve an expected end result.

 

983F0DED-FA93-46D1-8346-CF80D178C33F.jpegPictured: Caitlin and her daughter 

 

 Q: What were your experiences in school like?

A: As far as schooling goes, I bounced around a lot from school to school. By the time I entered high school, I had been to a private school, public elementary school, and homeschool. I was never in one select school for longer than 2 years at a time. I was a competitive figure skater through middle school, and skating was LIFE.

 

Because of other family circumstances, I had to give skating up. I went in to a new school, once again, making a new set of friends. By the time I finished 11th grade, I just wanted to go to college. I pulled myself out of school, enrolled in a homeschooling group and completed my senior year over the summer before my senior year in high school would have started. I left for college that fall and attended Marymount University for Interior Architecture and Design.

 

Looking back, I was sad that I never established a consistent “friend base.” I will never know what it’s like to go through 12 years of schooling with a group of friends, creating that forever bond and the countless memories over the years. I will never have a class reunion, a senior yearbook to look back on, or the experience of walking across the stage for my High School graduation.

 

 

Q: What’s something you learned by constantly moving?

A: While being sad about not creating a consistent “friend base,” I am extremely grateful for the constant “bouncing around” during my school years. It allowed me to see many different walks of life and forced me to be an extrovert. I made many friends along the way, and I am very grateful that I never fit into a “mold” but rather was able to get along with everyone by being myself.

 

Moving around a lot made me very adaptable to life and change, which helped me get through my divorce. My senior year of college, I found out I was pregnant. My then-boyfriend and I immediately got married in the courthouse to please our very religious families. To me, this was just another change. We got married, I graduated 3 months later, and had our daughter 2 months after graduation. We had a home built and moved from VA to MD 8 months later, all the while planning our big “church wedding.” We were in the house for 5 months. Four days before our church wedding, my ex-husband said he didn’t want to be married, he wanted to be single. He handed our daughter to me and told me to leave.

 

We called off the wedding 4 days before, having to still pick up flowers, my dress, pay the caterer and call 180 guests. Panic set in and completely consumed my life. I had just turned 24 years old and set into a deep depression. I did not understand why this happened to me. I had always been a “good kid.” I got good grades, went to church, and obeyed the rules of being a decent person. I gained nearly 30 pounds in a month from stress eating and spiraling downhill.  To this day, 6 years later, after many court battles, custody battles, fighting for child support, I look back at it all and realized that in the midst of all the struggle, the depression, the debilitating anxiety, I found my faith.

 

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I learned that you have to chose to be happy, even on your worst day. I learned that it’s OK to carry around a brown paper bag when you feel like hyperventilating and it’s OK to be HUMAN. It’s okay to be real and have real feelings.

 

 

Q: What would you like others to know from your story?

A: Even the person who seems to have it the most together has problems, and we are all one big mess. I learned that what I considered to be a weakness was actually a strength that allowed me to help others with the same issues. I remember saying that I hated my life, that I wanted to be someone else, someone normal. I was in church one day and everyone was giving the “sign of peace” where we shake hands. I was recently divorced and was by myself. Ironically, everyone at church that day seemed to be a couple or a family. I was so angry the entire service, sitting there, in the back row, looking around at all the people I considered lucky—because they looked like happy families. I sat there boiling over with anger. I watched as everyone was shaking hands during the “sign of peace.” The service continued, and I just wanted to leave. All of a sudden, a very old man tapped me on my shoulder (I was so annoyed at this point that I just turned and gave him that “what, do you need me to move?!” look). He just took my hand and said “peace be with you, you know… I always save the best for last.” He smiled and just walked away. I left the church that day bursting into tears. That day, I decided that no matter what happened, the best was going to be saved for last, and if my life wasn’t what I wanted now, it was only going to get better. This has carried throughout my life and now, entering my 30’s. I am more grounded in faith than I have ever been. I can honestly say I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything else in the world. It was through them that I came to appreciate the little things and little blessings in life. Most importantly, I learned to be thankful for the hard times. If there is one piece of advice for anyone dealing with anxiety or depression, it is to fight the good fight and never ever EVER give up. Your day is coming. You just have to take those baby steps until they become great strides. Then one day, you will look back and only have some memories of that time, long ago, when you were struggling.

 

If I can do it, you can do it. We are no different. Set your mind and keep it set.

 

7E25B0C4-1BA7-4032-BB75-6421AFF58BAB.jpegPictured: Caitlin happy today with her daughter and Matt, her significant other.

 

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