By Eugenia Nicole Macias, Ashley Elvira Arvizo, and Jocelyn Ramirez
Like most of Las Mujeres in our Todo Verde family, Ashley Elvira is an East L.A native, born and raised! Happy to call East L.A. her home, Ashley delves into what life was like being raised by a single working mother, how she became a Todo Verde lifer and what it’s like to work at a public charter school during the week and spend weekends making jugos with our T.V. team.
You lost your father at a very young age, how did that affect your life growing up with a single working mother?
My parents were separated, so I spent half my time in Montebello and the other half in Monterey Park. My dad passed away when I was 9 years old, so I went to live with my mother, and there was a total of five of us in the house. Growing up in a single-working-parent household, we didn’t have many options when it came to food. My mother fed us what she could, but I remember eating a lot of meat in the house. We didn’t eat a lot of veggies growing up because we would shop at local super markets like El Super and the produce wasn’t always very good.
Word on the street is you crashed a La Casita (Todo Verde headquarters) house party and now you’re part of the team!
Well, Melissa and I knew each other before we both started working for Todo Verde. We both actually met through a mutual friend and she had invited us to a house party at La Casita. Melissa met Jocelyn there and learned more about T.V. and what Jocelyn was working towards, so she jumped on board. Around that time, they needed a few extra hands, and I needed extra work, so ever since then, I’ve been working with them!
You work part-time with Todo Verde, but you work full-time at Opportunities for Learning, a public charter school, what is it like working for two organizations that cater to your community?
I love my job(s)! At Opportunities for Learning, I’m the center coordinator, I’m in charge of enrolling students, doing orientations, ordering curriculum. I’m essentially the go-to-person, and it’s great to feel needed but at the same time, it can be stressful, just like any job. I love working with Todo Verde! Because of my full-time job, I only work a few hours a week with T.V., but it is totally worth it because I work with an incredible group of women and it never actually feels like work!
Has working with T.V. made an impact in your health?
My diet has definitely changed for the better! Since my early 20’s, my diet has changed a lot. In high school, I became a vegetarian, but I was a bad vegetarian, you know, I ate a lot of carbs and potatoes. So, I slowly began to educate myself on eating healthier; eating more greens and veggies, and consuming less carbs! I don’t really consider myself a full-blown vegetarian because I do eat chicken and turkey every now and then, but I have a mostly vegetarian diet. It’s important to watch what you put into your body because your body reacts differently as you become older.
Tell us about your longterm goals.
Finish college and become a certified yoga instructor! I love my job, but it is pretty stressful. I have always been drawn to art and creativity and I eventually want to become an art curator or art therapist and give back to my community in other ways. In the meantime, I’d like to work on becoming certified yogi so that I can open up my schedule to finish school faster while also maintaining a healthier state of mind in a less stressful environment.
Other than learning the delicious recipes and the TV family dinner nights, what is your favorite thing about working with Todo Verde?
Sisterhood! I have some of the best times working with these women, getting to know them, and they’re all so inspiring! I love my Todo Verde sisters, we can laugh about anything and I consider them all my very good friends. I feel very lucky and blessed to be on this team!
I think Todo Verde’s work is super important, and I consider all these inspirational women very good friends. Jocelyn has a great head on her shoulders, and I love learning the recipes then incorporating them into my daily life.
Any words of advice for our readers?
Never compare yourself to other people and what they are doing because that’s not what this journey is about! Everyone is creating their own story, and we should each be aiming to better ourselves. This is most important for me, even it’s just making sure to eat healthy, which is tough sometimes!
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