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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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12 Extraordinary Luchadoras That Prove Mujeres Are Strong As Hell

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12 Extraordinary Luchadoras That Prove Mujeres Are Strong As Hell

Machismo in the Latinidad can make many spaces difficult for women to break in. However, the boy’s club has never stopped Latinas from making their mark and owning just how amazing women can be. A prime example of this is the Luchadoras who excel in the male-dominated world of Mexican wrestling. Lucha Libre was started all the way back in 1863 by Enrique Ugartechea, the first Luchador.

Ugartchea developed Mexican wrestling based on the wrestling of the Greco-Romans. The high flying maneuvers and theatrical drama was an instant hit with sport fans. The sport spread from the regions of Mexico up to the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. At first, Lucha Libre was only a guys sport but women eventually began making room for themselves in the macho sport. Today, Luchadoras wrestle in every major league and even have their own. In 2000, Lucha Libre Femenil, an all-female promotion company, was established.

Now, there is no shortage of extraordinary Luchadoras to entertain and inspire us. Here are some of the most boss mujeres in the business:

1. Mystique

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bm58mKpg24h/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=1g85z6j9f2ljz

Mystique became interested in the world of Luche Libre because her boyfriend was a big fan. After showing her videos of wrestling matches, the Mexicana decided she wanted to train and begin wrestling. She took inspiration from X-Men character Mystique for her name but her persona is straight out of Japan. Dressed like a masked ninja luchadora, Mystique has fans all over the world, especially in Mexico and Japan.

2. Vulcana

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bkf7eh5A7Ho/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=1de0v9twi02x8

Wrestling out of California, this Luchadora is a newcomer who made her debut in August 2018 with the Empire Wrestling Federation. Vulcana takes her name from famous strong woman Miriam Kate Williams. Active in the late 1800’s through early 1900’s Williams’ stage name was also Vulcana. Vulcana is all about showing the strength of women. By using her own power, her goal is to bring the knowledge of the ancestors back into Lucha Libre.

3. La Hiedra

Nicknamed La Nueva Reina del Escandalo, La Hiedra is a Luchadora from Northern Mexico. Two years after her debut, La Hiedra advanced to the final of the Quien Pinta Por La Corona. Though she didn’t win that title, the Luchadora has had great support with Lucha Libre fans. Since 2015, La Hiedra has wrestled with Lucha Libra AAA Worldwide and has also appeared with the International Wrestling Revolution Group.

4. Sanely

https://www.instagram.com/p/BaAldlzHUcv/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=1q2o9gcg5ts7a

Luchadora Sanely started out as a mystery woman during the 2015 CMLL Bodybuilding Competition. She was so impressive during this appearance that it earned her a debut with Consejo Mundial Lucha Libre. Sanely isn’t just a boss Luchadora, she’s a legacy! Her father, grandfather, brother, and brother-in-law are all Luchadors. In fact, Sanely’s nickname is La Dama del Guante Negro after her father’s stage name, Mano Negro.

5. Baby Puma

https://www.instagram.com/p/BYj6RcKF5u2/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=2yxsq74c0876

Baby Puma is another bit of proof that Lucha Libre runs in the family. Her father is the famous Luchador Ultratumba and her sister is Lady Pumba. Wrestling since 2008, Baby Puma has made a name for herself separate from her famous familia. Wrestling at the Arena Femenil, Baby Puma’s high energy moves have earned the Luchadora her own legion of loyal fans.

6. Lluvia

Lluvia is a fishnet-clad Luchadora who wrestles with CMLL. Utilizing her signature move, the Octopus Cradle, she claimed the title of Reina Tag-Team Champion alongside Luna Mágica in 2011. Family is very important to Lluvia. In 2017, the Luchadora became a mama! She’s also from a Lucha Libre family. In fact, her sister is #3 on this list, La Hiedra.

7. Magic Girl

https://twitter.com/KMagicGirl/status/798206108523499520?s=19

Magic Girl is a Mexican Luchadora who trained with stars of Lucha Libre like Pantera II and El Diablo Jr. Her first experience wrestling was at a sports festival. Magic Girl was so good that the audience threw money into the ring at the end of the match. Lucha Libre is also a family event for Magical Girl. Although, she was the one to inspire her father, Blasniety, to train and perform as a Luchador.

8. Sexy Star

Sexy Star started her career as a Luchadora under the name Dulce Poly. However, it’s under stage name Sexy Star that she’s done her best work. The Latina is a three-time AAA Reina de Reinas Champion as well as a AAA World Mixed Tag Team Campion. Despite her huge success, Sexy Star chose to leave the world of Lucha Libre. In 2017, the Luchadora allowed herself to be unmasked so she could work on her new career as a boxer.

9. Lady Flamer

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bkq784hgigL/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=1siyokvlwkhvd

19-year-old Lady Flamer might be young, but she’s already a champion. Among her victories, the Latina won the LLF Championship and LLF Tag Team Title alongside Lady Puma. The daughter of the Red Flamer, Lady Flamer was the first of his children to train in the family business. She was the surprise Luchadora in her debut match during The Crash at Auditorio de Tijauana.

10. Goya Kong

https://www.instagram.com/p/BUpm_ZJAAun/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=1aq6nw0j40l6n

Goya Kong is a plus-sized Luchadora who uses her size as a strategy in the ring. She uses humor in her performances just as her Luchador dad, Brazo de Plata, did in his wrestling. The Luchadora started her career with AAA but switched to CMLL in 2010 when her father also changed leagues. In 2013, Goya Kong won the Trofero Arena Coliseo 70 Aniverserio Championship, beating the Luchadora who unmasked her the previous year.

11. Danah

https://www.instagram.com/p/BiKvaKmgqa6/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Danah is the younger sister Luchadora Goya Kong. Starting her career as Muñeca de Plata, her debut name was a call back to her father, Brazo de Plata. Danah spent several years as a part-time Luchadora with AAA and CMLL. However, in 2015 the Latina debuted anew with Lucha Libre Elite as a league regular.

12. Lady Shani

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bn71HrqnqVy/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=xyftdp6wp6f7

Lady Shani is kind of a big deal. She is the current AAA Reina de Reinas Champion and the 2017 winner of the Producciones Cordero Copa Femenil. She began her wrestling career with the name Sexy Lady and was a ruda or villain. Her fans didn’t seem to mind her role as a bad girl, though. She has adoring fans over the world.


Read: How I Celebrate The Holidays Without A Drink

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

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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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