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Little Latina’s Generosity Inspires a Movement With Her Cozy Collection

As adults its easy to remove ourselves from our younger years and minimize all that we had to handle. Still, research has shown that even at the age of nine, kids face quite a bit of change and must learn to adapt to the various stresses added to their plates. By this time, children find themselves standing on the cusp of adolescence, learning to address and juggle everyday challenges and responsibilities related to their education, navigating social groups and developing bodies. California-based Latina Maya Covarrubias Aguilar is also busy with these responsibilities. Still, her interest in philanthropy is inspiring a movement.

Nine-year-old Aguilar is the creator and organizer of Cozy Collection

The Cozy Collection Assembly Video

We wouldn't be able to reach as many people in need if it wasn't for your continued support. We're ramping up for the Fall campaign and look forward to working together to have an impact on homelessness in the San Gabriel Vallen and Inland Empire.#latinodad #sgv #claremont #covina

Posted by The Cozy Collection on Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Aguilar started out her project with a desire to see every person she helped in an environment that was filled with comfort, it was a hope that inspired the name of her donation drive and gave rise to her idea of collecting cozy items like socks and blankets for homeless and displaced people in her community. Described by her dad, Carlos Aguilar, as a “family service learning project,” the Cozy Collection is an enterprise that Aguilar started to work on when she was only 6 years old.

The community drive started off as a trip to a local recycling center. Aguilar was with her father and mother, Angie Covarrubias Aguilar, turning in recycling when she spotted a homeless person on a street corner. On the drive home, Covarrubias had questions about homelessness. Mostly she wanted to know how she could help.

There’s no doubt, that Aguilar’s empathy for others can be easily identified as a sort of compassion that goes beyond her years but her concern is also extremely valid. Her home state of California saw the largest increase in homelessness than any state in 2016 to 2017 year. Over 16,000 people were displaced during that year. The state also saw a staggering increase in the numbers of unsheltered homelessness and chronically homeless people.

So, a project like Aguilar’s is extremely necessary for the betterment of her community.

Supported by her family, Aguilar decided to look into ways she could help the homeless population of San Gabriel Valley.

Photo provided by Carlos Aguilar

Still, only six-years-old at the time, Aguilar decided that she could help by collecting pairs of socks— the most requested item from shelters— and other comfort items. Aguilar got to work right away; making flyers, organizing, goal setting and involving the people closest to her.

The Cozy Collection started small with most help coming from Aguilar’s friends, family, and classmates. Her project collects items all year and donates collected items around the Thanksgiving holiday season. In the first year of the project’s inception, Maya set the goal of collecting 1,000 pairs of socks. In the end, the Cozy Collection was able to donate 2000 pairs of socks to the Mercy House— an organization that provides housing, food, and shelter to local communities.

Since its first year, Aguilar has set big goals for her project. The second year of its collection drive, the Cozy Collection was able to gather over 3,000 pairs. In its third year, the project reigned in a total of over 8,000 pairs donated to the Mercy House. Overall, the project has impacted thousands of lives by donating over 13,000 pairs of socks.

The project’s exponential growth meant that it was time to branch out. Other essentials like mittens, hats, shoes, and sleeping bags were soon added to the Cozy Collection’s contributions. Today, the Cozy Collection has ambassadors in other classrooms and local schools consisting of students working towards the project’s shared goal. Aguilar has even inspired her 6-year-old brother Joaquin to join the efforts as a school ambassador, which he has done for the past two years.

Aguilar and the collection have also found support outside of their community as well. Donations have been sent to the Cozy Collection from all over the United States, encouraging others to be more conscious of helping others. As a dedicated Philadelphia Eagles fan, Aguilar says that one of her favorite contributions came from a Philadelphia-based supporter who sent  Eagles swag for the collection.

Aguilar’s efforts have only gained support and traction. Recently, her Cozy Collection caught the attention of the Disney Channel.

Alert! Alert! Cozy Collection family!The DisneyChannel is running a profile on Maya and her work with The Cozy Collection as part of #hispanicheritagemonth. The official version isn’t online, but Grandpa Art Covarrubias caught the video on his cell phone. You can check out more information on The a Cozy Collection by visiting bigbrowndad.com/cozy.

Posted by The Cozy Collection on Friday, September 21, 2018

Earlier this year, a production company representing the Disney Channel reached out to Aguilar’s parents saying their client was interested in featuring her in a television spot for Hispanic Heritage Month. 

Aguilar and her family were initially under the impression that the network wanted to feature the Cozy Collection, but while highlighting the project, Disney Channel honored Aguilar’s efforts with a backyard fiesta and featured her as a main subject. During filming, Disney Channel stars Jenna Ortega— who you’ll recognize from her roles in “Jane the Virgin” and “Stuck in the Middle”met with Aguilar to hear more about her work and thank her for her philanthropy.  The video profile of Aguilar and her Cozy Collection ran on the Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Disney Jr. as part of their celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Aguilar’s efforts have only continued to gain traction amongst children and adults who look up to her as a role model.

Photo provided by Carlos Aguilar

This year, news of her Cozy Collection’s work made it all the way to Texas. Her project inspired a Houston Girl Scout troop to adopt the donation program as a service project to benefit their own community.

For Aguilar, encouraging others to realize that they can make a big difference in small ways is also a huge goal of her program. Inspiring people to donate to her collection or to find their own path to philanthropy is truly the message of the Cozy Collection.  Her current collection for the November 2018 donation season is currently pushing to gather 10,000 pairs of socks for her community. 

Aguilar may be a little girl, but the leadership she has shown is huge and will only evolve as the Cozy Collection grows. It’s obvious that she’s destined for leadership in her community. Aguilar proves that anyone can make a difference. It just takes a little bit of compassion and a lot of hustle.


Read:  The Soulful New York Boricua Inspiring You To Never Give Up On Yourself

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These 7 Charities Focus On Latina Issues And Are Perfect For Your #GivingTuesday Donations

finance

These 7 Charities Focus On Latina Issues And Are Perfect For Your #GivingTuesday Donations

As we make our way through the holidays, charities across the globe are asking us to open our wallets to their causes and organizations. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving, also known as #GivingTuesday, has become known as an international day promoting charitable contributions. It started in 2012 and has gained popularity in marking the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season ever since.

Here are a seven charities to consider putting your money towards, all of which support Latina causes and interests.

Paz Para La Mujer

When it comes to natural disasters, there’s a silent tragedy that largely goes overlooked. Along with the many other affects women face after a catastrophe, natural disasters also increase the likelihood of women becoming victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Paz Para La Mujer is a non-profit running on a mission to “strengthen gender equity and human rights.” Their work is becoming a vital aspect of securing the safety of women facing abuse after Hurricane Maria.

Check out how to help Paz Para La Mujer here.

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

The national conversation surrounding abortion and reproductive health rights is an important one, but it often ignores some major factors that influence Latinas. When it comes to the resources and health care straight Latinas and Latinx members of the LGBTQI+ community need, issues like immigration status, language, class and domestic violence aren’t considered.  The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is an organization fighting to make abortions more accessible to women, as well as helping Latinas access better health and preventive services.

Sign up to volunteer with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health or, donate here.

End Rape on Campus

Attention to the country’s campus sexual assault crisis has slowed down a bit this year but the number of assaults still occurring on college campuses is proof that the situation remains dire. Hundreds of students across the country continue to face assault and rape by their peers and teachers on campuses, and many universities are still failing to handle those cases. Andrea Pino, a sexual assault survivor, is the co-founder of End Rape on Campus. Her involvement in the organization has helped advocate for policy reform on both local and federal levels.

Donate money to End Rape on Campus here.

Trans-Latin@ Coalition

Studies on the abuse, harassment and rates of homelessness in the Latinx trans community reveal that Latino/a/x transgender women experience some of the highest rates of violence in the trans community. The Trans-Latin@ Coalition is an organization that came together in 2009 in an effort to advocate for Trans Latinxs immigrants residing in the United States. Together the group works with policy makers and support organizations to help find solutions to the needs of members of the community.

To help members of the Trans Latin@ community, donate here.

MedShare

MedShare is a national non-profit organization that collects medical supples and equipment as well as items such as feminine hygiene products, soap, diapers, baby wipes, shampoo and oral hygiene kits. They then redistribute supplies to hospitals in developing countries. The organization isn’t solely focused on women but the items it collects directly help women and their children.

Go to MedShare’s site and learn how to donate here.

Casa de Esperanza

Heading out shopping on Friday? Pick up a few extras for families seeking safety this holiday season. #blackfriday #proyectonavidad

A post shared by Casa de Esperanza (@casa_de_esperanza) on

One in three Latinas will witness domestic violence under their own roof at some point during their life. Casa de Esperanza is a non-profit pushing a mission that works to “mobilize Latinas and Latin@ communities to end domestic violence.” The organization was founded in 1982 and gives Latinas, their children and other women experiencing domestic violence emergency shelter. It also works to provide resources to organizations addressing issues related to sexual assault and sex trafficking. It’s the country’s largest organization for Latinas that is focused on domestic violence.

Check out Casa de Ezperanza’s site and donate here.

Latino STEM Alliance

There are many reasons why our society is so behind in understanding women’s rights, but a lack of women STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics ) is a massive part of the problem. For decades, careers in research, engineering, medicine and education have been monopolized by men who’ve made themselves a priority in their fields. It’s why women have, for years, had to endure the harsh side effects of things like the birth control pill (which was developed by male researchers) while also having to fight for their own reproductive rights. Ensuring that Latinas participate in STEM is a vital aspect of securing their rights and futures. Latino STEM Alliance is an organization that funnels money into giving Latino students access to project-based learning curriculum, access to STEM-focused education and parent engagement events.

Learn more about Latino STEM and donate here.


READ: In The Name of #MeToo, Women Talk About Their Sexual Assaults

Share this story with your friends and encourage them to give today and always!

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Gina Rodriguez Just Salsa-ed Her Way Into “The Ellen Show” In The Entrances of All Entrances

Entertainment

Gina Rodriguez Just Salsa-ed Her Way Into “The Ellen Show” In The Entrances of All Entrances

Fans of the CW’s hit “Jane The Virgin” already know what a star talent Gina Rodriguez is. Her role as Jane Villanueva has afforded us the gift of seeing her many skills on full display. Not only can the girl rap, and keep up with the likes of Britney Spears, she also has mad salsa skills. In her most recent appearance on the “Ellen Show,” the Puerto Rican-American actress showed off her dance skills and showed up every other person that’s every been on Ellen. EVER.

Rodriguez salsa-ed  her way onto the Ellen stage with choreographer Lyrik Cruz as her partner.

EllenTube / Youtube

Now, plenty of celebrity guests have made their mark on the Ellen stage with an impressive entrance. But let’s be honest, Gina’s moves blow all other entrances out of the water. The only way this one could possibly be knocked off the top of the charts, is if she danced to “Quimbara” with Celia Cruz (RIP).

The actress/ rapper/ salsa queen twirled her way around stage all in the name of charity.

The Ellen Show / NBC / Youtube.com

In an effort to raise money for people in need, Ellen has been getting her celebrity guests to present their most impressive dance entrances and other talents. Gina partnered up with Ulta Beauty to raise $10,000 in the name of breast cancer research. A move that reaches right to the core of our hearts by the way ?.

But after her entrance, Rodriguez proved her work for charity was far from over.

The Ellen Show / NBC / Giphy.com

Rodriguez got to work teaching Ellen’s executive producer Andy Lassner a few moves as well. For all of her hard work, DeGeneres awarded Rodriguez an extra $10,000. This time all of the money went to victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. ? ? ?

It’s not the first time Rodriguez’s fire talents have helped out her home country.

My kind of heroes. Best. Day. Ever. #LinManuelMiranda #RitaMoreno #ComingSoon ??????

A post shared by Gina Rodriguez (@hereisgina) on

Earlier this month the actress got together with Lin-Manuel Miranda to raise money for relief in Puerto Rico. The actress has showed off her rapping chops before but, similar to her salsa on Ellen, this time around meant so much more since it was for such an important cause. We’re so pumped to see what other hidden talents Gina breaks out for us next!

Watch Gina kill the salsa game in the video below:


Read: They May Have To Take The V-Word Out Of Gina Rodriguez’s Show Now That Jane’s Been Getting Busy This Season

We’re still on a mission to raise awareness about the victims in PR too! Share this story with your friends to get them on board!

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