Meet Prospera’s Fellow 2020-2022
Celia Alvarez was born in Guadalajara, México and is the single mother of two young students. She came to the U.S. at 19 years old in search of the American Dream and quickly realized that without preparation it would be very difficult to achieve her goals. She started studying ESL at night and eventually at school during the day until she got her GED. She began her path as a promoter in 2008 with Sacred Heart Community Service helping to facilitate collective actions, as a spokesperson for the media, and sharing testimonies to repeal policies such as the seizure of cars from people without driver’s licenses. In 2010, she joined SOMOS Mayfair—an organization focused on the development of community leadership—as a participant in support groups and parenting workshops. Soon she was invited to be a facilitator. Her leadership is developing little by little as she earns different certifications within the organization, advocating for parents and students in the school district, demanding affordable housing from the city, and always fighting for equity and justice for underprivileged immigrants. At the same time, she was collaborating with organizations like Bring Me a Book and Literacy Lab showing parents of young children the positive impact of starting literacy early.
Celia always wanted to be in control of her time and work. In 2016 SOMOS Mayfair gave her the opportunity to make her dream come true by incubating a cooperative business with 20 other women, of which she was a member for two years. Upon leaving, she founded a second cooperative called De Colores Consulting with three other friends using her own resources and experience. De Colores helps organizations whose main focus is working with the Latino immigrant community by doing grassroots organizing, workshops, focus groups, outreach and interpretation.
Celia’s hopes for her Fellowship:
“Having been chosen as a Fellow in the Prospera program, I seek to take my cooperative to the next level of clientele, capacity and income. With an openness and eagerness to learn what is necessary for my business, I feel excited (and a little nervous, too) about making the commitment to represent De Colores, but I am determined to do whatever it takes to achieve my growth goals.”
Meet Prospera’s Entrepreneur
Ana is from Michoacan, Mexico where she lived until 1996 when she came to California. She is the proud mother of Metzli, Alitzel and Erendira. She has worked with the LGBT and immigrant communities through activism. She previously worked as a teacher in rural areas throughout various Mexican regions. She also began a cooperative in 2014, which she ended two years later. She is now in the beginning stages of starting a second coop for childcare in the Bay Area, The Nanny Collective. She has five years experience as a nanny and has grown very passionate about being a nurturing presence in the lives of children which is what is motivating this next entrepreneurial endeavor.
At the age of 20 Anahi was on track to study law and was working for a local politician in Mexico when she decided to migrate to the United States. Her plan was to return with enough financial resources to develop college student housing in her hometown and help address critical issues her peers were experiencing such as drug addiction. In the U.S. she started out working in bakeries, grocery stores and restaurants where she experienced exploitative working conditions. She then spent the next several years as a worker-owner for various house cleaning cooperatives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she pursued every possible learning opportunity for developing a business. One of those opportunities has been with Prospera, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing Latina-owned worker cooperatives. In 2017 Anahi launched Professional Eco-clean, an eco-friendly house cleaning business that is dedicated to the personal and professional development of its employees. All this time she has continued to provide financial and moral support to her family in Mexico, which has led to her mother launching a stationery store. Today, in addition to growing her business, she presents workshops for emerging Latina entrepreneurs on developing businesses with cooperative values. She is also actively engaged in feminist movements in Mexico and the United States, and is in the process of developing a social enterprise that has an explicit feminist mission. She is the proud mother of two with whom she instills her entrepreneurial and feminist values. She continues aiming for a life that has deep roots in both Mexico and the United States.
Nancy Rosales is a Bay Area native and a first generation Mexican American whose parents migrated to Watsonville to pick strawberries through the Bracero program. Pepitos Paletas began in 2007 as an ice cream company. The business later transitioned to paletas when Nancy realized that there wasn’t a choice for organic and authentic paletas in the area. She is a vibrant and determined entrepreneur with so much creativity that shines through her product. Nancy aspires to involve many more Latina women in her project to expand the model and be present with paletas in all the corners of the Bay Area. She values authentic traditions and makes sure that every paleta flavor is connected to her Mexican roots. The paletas are all abuelita (grandma) approved!