Mikiela Gonzales’s passion for philanthropy was nurtured by her mom who taught her the importance of giving back from an early age.
Now, the 25-year-old is walking in her purpose, and impacting lives through philanthropy.
Over the years, Gonzales has been involved in and initiated many projects designed to assist those who are less fortunate.
“I have done projects hosted by the UWI Mona Guild, Operation Help the People and Angels of Love. I have helped many other foundations such as the Jamaica Mental Health Advocacy Network, Jamaica Autism Support Association, Girls Who Know, Laconic Foundation, Youth Aspiring Positive Change Ja, The Jamaica and the Climate Change Youth Council,” she said.
“I consistently tell people to give back in a way they care most.”— Gonzales
Six years ago, she started her own foundation, PROChangers Ja which aims to provide wholistic educational opportunities for less fortunate children.
“These opportunities come in the form of grants, mentorship programs and free tutoring sessions,” she said.
Gonzales also uses her foundation to promote the works of other NGOs.
“The PRO in our name is also a play on the acronym Public Relations Officers. We have also made it our mandate to highlight the work of various other foundations which we hope will break down the silos which exist among non-profit organisations in Jamaica,” she said.
Through her foundation, she has also taken part in initiatives designed to empower girls.
“My foundation and the CARE Campaign we have partnered with a foundation called Girls Who Know. The aim of this organisation is to inform adolescent females about their sexual and reproductive rights in Jamaica,” she said.
Gonzales asserts that her work with different foundations has led her to conclude that one of the greatest issues facing young girls is a lack of mentorship.
“We as women are strong and can do whatever we put our minds, all successes or defeats begin in the mind.”— Gonzales
“It’s not enough to talk about what young girls should know, they need individuals to be there as they go through the process of learning to become a woman they can be proud of,” she said.
While she does what she can to address this, she’s also balancing her philanthropic work with her 9-5 and her business.
She is currently the Content and Operations Manager at EduFocal Business Limited and the owner of a math tutoring company call Mathwiz.
“We as women are strong and can do whatever we put our minds to so I would tell them to always remember all successes or defeats begin in the mind,” she said.
“I consistently tell people to give back in a way they care most. So if you like photography give back by teaching some children on the weekend, if you like playing music volunteer at some events for other non-profits,” she said.