There was so much to cover, we just felt that the #WeAllGrow Storytellers event, presented by Vive Mejor and sponsored by Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant, that took place on the last day of the #WeAllGrow Summit needed its own post.
One of the community’s most loved craft blogger and creator, Kathy Cano-Murillo, set the tone for the event with the ray of sunshine and glitter that she’s known for. She shared her own personal and hilarious accounts of raising her son in a musically and artistically inclined family, and how he used to often unknowingly through them under the bus by voicing the “wrong facts”, which essentially became his nickname.
As the storytellers presented their journeys, there was much laughter and many tears from the audience who resonated with many of the roads traveled and lessons learned along the way.
Astrid Rivera shared an emotional story of love and loss, and the very special connection she had with her father-in-law. His dream was to be well enough to see his son be married, and even after suffering a stroke, he promised to be there for that day. He was - not in person, but via Skype. That night, he passed away with comfort that his son was now married. The experience has taught Astrid to wake up knowing that she has dreams to achieve, goals to reach and a heart to love.
Ana Cruz brought light to the discussion of domestic violence by sharing her personal experiences. Her mother and greatest source of inspiration always encouraged Ana to go to school and chase her dreams of being the radio industry. She did just that. But even after she knew how hard her mother worked and the devastation of domestic abuse, she found herself in a similar situation later in life. After becoming a mother herself, she found the strength to leave and start a new beginning for her and her son. With a lot of determination and a strong work ethic, she got her dream job as a radio host. She is now using her platforms to build communities and raise awareness about domestic violence.
Carol Cain shared a journey that was just beginning of a new chapter in her life. Just a Facebook friend request away, she was reuniting with her mother after 25 years. At the age of 5, Carol was taken away from everything she knew - her mother, her home and the community she grew to love La Perla, Puerto Rico - by her father. Raised in NYC, at the age of 21, Carol went back to La Perla to visit her mother but wasn’t ready to truly embrace the complexities of the relationship. She is now. Her story is one of second chances and the power of love.
Jeannette Kaplun took the audience on trip a Chile with her story about the obstacles she faced getting into her chosen college to where she is today. Despite her father’s words, who preferred she studied psychology - Es mejor ser cabeza de raton de cola de leon - she chose the path the journalism. Although hurtful at the time, his words encouraged Jeannette to push harder and become the lion’s tale. She did. Not only did she graduated top of her class, she delivered the commencement speech. Jeannette learned that if you have a dream, no matter what anyone tells you, you must work hard for it. Never settle being being the big fish in the small pond. Fast forward to today, Jeannette’s father is glad that she proved him wrong.
Claudya Martinez shared her relationship with “La Miedosa” - The inner voice that tries to take over whenever she wants to try something. However, as frustrating as this voice can be sometimes, it saved her life. Her story is one of fear, strength and courage. A survivor of a dangerous encounter, Claudya inspired the audience to embrace their inner miedosas and see her as the guardian angel that is there to keep you safe. Accept her for who she is but know when to put your foot down. You are so much more than your fear.
Lorraine Ladish believes in the power of women helping each other. After losing her job and working through a difficult marriage, she walked away with her two daughters. With the help of family and her jewelry box filled with heirlooms and memories, she began process of rebuilding her life. When she found herself unable to pay rent, which led to sell each gold piece one by one - A very painful decision. But it put a roof over her head for one more month. During an evening that would change her life, she met a woman who gave her two diamond rings to sell for her next month’s rent. The gesture fueled and inspired Lorraine so much, she has since been paying it forward through her work as an author and online community, Viva Fifty.
Thank you to our sponsors and all the extraordinary people who joined us for the inaugural #WeAllGrow Summit. We’ve already picked out the new location for next year, and we cannot wait to share the details! Until 2016!
Watch all the Storytellers' videos on the Latina Bloggers Connect YouTube channel.