Contributed by: Rhianna Quiroga , GEN Community Relations Intern
Eveling Crisostomo has joined Girls Empowerment Network as a Program Coordinator in GEN’s Houston office. We’re honored that Eveling has joined our team, and recently interviewed her so that we could share more about her background and passions with our community.
What’s your background? What experiences have had an impact on your decision to work in girls empowerment?
I was born in Mexico, but have pretty much lived in Houston most of my life. I am a first-generation graduate from UT Austin, where I received my Bachelor’s of Social Work. Now, I am pursuing my Master’s of Social Work at UH.
Being born in a Hispanic culture, I have always been aware of the roles and expectations that were set for me as a woman. I was expected to learn how to cook, clean, and care for others, with the hope to find a husband that would support me and our kids, which were inevitable. However, my mother instilled in me the importance of attaining an education and being independently my own person. I have lived by this mission and it feels that every decision I have taken, I strayed further away from what my culture and society told me I should do. I see my nieces and I know I want them to believe in themselves and in their ability to achieve any goals they set for themselves without a predisposed filter of how their life should look like. I feel the same way for every young girl I have encountered and had the privilege to work with. Aligning myself with the mission of GEN, I want every girl out there to have the skills they need to thrive and believe in their ability to be unstoppable. This is why I’m here and why I will always contribute to the fight of allowing every girl and woman to decide what their ultimate self looks life.
What excites you most about your role at GEN?
I think what excites me the most is having the privilege of meeting so many girls and teaching them the skills to thrive so that we can create everlasting change. I am an optimistic person through and through and though some of the closest people I know tell me changing the world is too ambitious, I believe in generating a better world and future for generations to come. This is where it starts, with organizations like GEN that truly believe and breathe social justice and equality for women. It starts with one interaction, one module, one girl, one success story. Systemic change is attainable and I am incredibly honored to contribute to this alongside GEN.
What do you think is one of the biggest challenges girls today are facing?
I think one of the biggest challenges girls are facing today is their difficulty of being self-compassionate. Especially during modern times, with the rise of technology and social media, girls are constantly comparing themselves to others and based on this, assigning their self-worth. This then acts like a catalyst for a plethora of other issues, like eating disorders, depression, anxiety, bullying, suicide, etc. Girls are oftentimes too judgmental- the critique in their head, this inner dialogue, along with the pressure of societal expectations makes for an unhealthy relationship with themselves. If we can teach girls to stop listening to this voice and instead replace it with positive affirmations, if we can teach them to be more compassionate, then I believe we are one step closer to solving many other issues that plague girls today.
What’s one word to describe you in middle school?