Celina Rodriguez hails from a melting pot family with both Mexican and American roots that hail back to the 1700s. She grew up in her hometown of San Diego but saw more than the average child.
As a little girl, she saw two worlds—one where people could afford a lot and another where folks could barely survive. This juxtaposition, she says, shaped who she is today and how she decided to spend the rest of her life.
“I experienced and saw a lot at a very young age—things I didn’t understand,” says Rodriguez.
She attended the UC Davis where she was mentored by people in her Chicano Studies program. It’s here where she says she cultivated her own voice and decided to dedicate her life to bringing others across the gap. “It was an empowering experience.”
This led her to the Davis Bridge Foundation, a nonprofit, afterschool program that provides homework support and enrichment opportunities to children of low income families.
“I see myself in so many of these kids—self-conscious because of their family’s economic status; embarrassed because their parents can’t speak English—but my goal every day is to make sure these kids feel cared about and feel their value in society and that they do have something to contribute,” says Rodriguez.