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Inspiring Stories from South San Diego

The heart of our mission at the SD Voyager is to find the amazing souls that breathe life into our city. In the recent weeks, we’ve had the privilege to connect with some of the San Diego’s finest artists, creatives, entrepreneurs and rabble rousers and we can’t begin to express how impressed we are with our city’s incredibly deep talent pool. Check out inspiring stories from South San Diego below.

Kieler Avery

I have been performing since I was 3 years old in community theater. I loved everything about being on stage. I decided to take up piano lessons so I could learn an instrument. I picked up the Ukelele when the director of a show I was in said if I learned, I could play it in the show. My biggest inspiration is Tori Kelly, she played guitar and sang so I decided I wanted to learn the guitar so I could too. I started watching how she played songs on YouTube and learned by mimicking what she did. I discovered that I absolutely love writing my own music and started to include that and writing songs for the piano as well so now I write songs for both the guitar and piano. When I was awarded one of the “25 Most Remarkable Teens In San Diego” award for singing and songwriting, it gave me the boost of confidence I needed to put myself out there more. Now I just want to be heard and perform wherever I can. My EP is almost finished and I have released 2 singles so far. I am planning to make a career in music. Read more>>

Rosa Rodriguez

Funny how the world spins for us. My husband actually started as a Paletero (Ice cream man) when he was a child, he would go sell around National City with my Father in Law and his older brother. As the Pandemic hit we realized like many others we needed to get another income to support our family of five and wanting to spend more time with our children. So as a first generation small business owner with absolutely no knowledge on what the process was I decided to do all my research in 2020. We would have “small business “ meetings in our living room which Yes still happens with our children and talk about what ice creams we want to sell, what sold best in the beginning and which ones they enjoyed the most. Then I sketched our logo and as 2021 came we filed our paperwork to legally own Rodriguez Paletas. We knew we wanted to do something to keep paletero culture alive and bring smiles one ice cream at a time so we do as many community events as we can as a Family. Now we get to do that and enjoy it as a family owned and operated small business. Read more>>

Alexa Lopez

I’m an immigrant dance artist here in San Diego. I was born in Tijuana, Mexico where I was raised until the age of 10. My family and I moved to Chula Vista in July of 2007, in hopes of a better quality of life. As the eldest of 3, I always strived to be the best and set an example for my younger siblings. However, my lack of English and the culture shock I experienced the first year here in the States, impacted me mentally and academically. My mom saw that I was struggling with the change, and encouraged me to try a sport. I took this opportunity to rekindle my love for dance, as I had danced at an aunt’s studio ages 3-5 back in Tijuana. I joined an after-school Hip Hop dance program that same year, and never stopped dancing since. Read more>>

Chris Sweat

We started the business in 2017, before my retirement after 24 years of Naval service. We were doing small catering functions at first, American Youth Soccer Association was one of our first fully catered events. The momentum began to build with the introduction to Tim Parker of the Chula Vista Brewery. We started in the alley behind the brewery on Thursdays then soon turned into weekends. In 2019 we began on the street in front of the brewery on the third avenue. When Covid 19 hit we had to shift our focus and began delivering slow smoked meats throughout the county which we continued until the ban was lifted. The city of Chula Vista allowed businesses to operate during this time if they had food available with outside seating, which allowed us to thrive as a small business. Read more>>

Antonio Garcia

To explain how it all started with LSM, heres a little background story of myself; In 2019 at 22 years old I was a Personal Trainer for over 3 years, helping people with all levels of fitness towards a healthier lifestyle. I was attending Grossmont College for Pre-physical Therapy with a 4.0 GPA and was working full time hours as a PT Aide II at Kaiser Permanente. Working in the Fitness and Healthcare industry at the same time dramatically changed my perspective on life, and was visually seeing the unhealthy problems we had here in America. We always hear about this topic especially in our field, but coming from National City I was taught to ALWAYS give back to my community in any way I can. So I had this idea to host Free Fit Camps for all ages to spread awareness of Childhood Obesity. Within 2 months, we had over 200 San Diegans that came out to support the cause and get a quick workout in at the same time! I was asked to design shirts to represent the cause. Read more>>

Alexis Martinez

I started when I was 18 years old because I needed a distraction from stuff that was going on in my life. Read more>>

TaiReikca L.A.

I’ve been into the arts my whole life. I first realized I had a special love for theatre while acting in church plays. While taking a theatre class in high school, I partnered with a fellow band member on a Shakespeare scene, and I was hooked. I majored in Theatre Arts when I went to college, and found a love for something I’d never felt before. I learned everything about theatre that I could and trained in every aspect of it. While in grad school, I focused more so on Stage Management, but was still able to contribute in other ways as well, which was paradise. I’ve never looked back and have been working professionally since graduating!. Read more>>

Veronica Garcia

I have been extremely passionate about fashion and beauty for as long as I can remember. In college, I interned for College Fashionista which was a monthly editorial-style interview with stylish college students. After graduating from college, I went to LA where I completed two fashion internships in PR showrooms where I got the opportunity to meet and work with celebrity stylists I admire. I also have an Instagram account where I post outfits, work with brands, and share a bit about my life! Earlier this year I took the plunge and launched my own online clothing boutique. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now, and with the pandemic last, I just found myself with enough free time to finally check that box. Read more>>

Peach Cordova

Thank you so much for having me! This is such an amazing opportunity! I’m Peach and I’m an embroidery artist! I’ve always been an admirer of the arts but had never found something I felt really spoke to Me until I found embroidery. I first picked up a needle and thread the fall of 2019. After much struggling, I managed to make some stitches, which together, made up a sweet, little message for my spouse as a birthday gift. When Covid-19 hit, I was constantly looking for any activities I could do from the comfort of my home. I started seeing many people picking up more traditional arts & crafts, embroidery being one of them. Remembering my previous attempt at embroidery, I decided I’d try again. My partner bought me a complete kit and I was on my way. Thus, The Peach Stitch was born!. Read more>>

Melody Larios

The story begins when I was a little girl that watched Cake Boss and Cake Wars all the time; I was captivated by the idea of creating art that is edible. I began to pursue my passion for cake decorating during my teen years. I took a basic course, but learned a lot on my own as well. Later on, I got my bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Service Management, meanwhile, I worked at a few different bakeries where I was able to get much more experience. Cakes by Melody started in 2017 as my little side business and has grown into much more. Now, I am fully dedicated to making my clients’ cake dreams come true, whether that be cake for a wedding or a special birthday celebration. I have not stopped learning something new every single day in order to grow and achieve excellence for my clients. Read more>>

Jacob Cruz-Ratliff

Expeditionary Veterans Association (EVA) was started in April 2015 to assist Veterans and active-duty military personnel that have PTSD and to assist them in organized outdoor types of activities with other Veterans and military that suffer from PTSD. Two times a week, year round, we host mountain bike trips in hopes to help our clientele adjust back into society to include making new friendships as they once did while serving in the military. We hope that our organization can provide a better way of life for them. As for now the County of San Diego, CA and County of Riverside, CA is where EVA is currently located. We hope to spread to other regions in California within the coming years. The majority of our therapy rides are exploring XC, All-Mountain, and Enduro/DH type trails, but we also have members that have become EVA ambassadors and racing many times a year in SoCal Enduro Races, Big Bear-Snow Summit DH Races, Vail Lake Enduro Races, and Mammoth Mountain DH Races and of course local races. All of which we are proud of backing them and the majority of them never use to mountain bike before joining Team EVA and now are amateur racing. Read more>>

Tobias Platt

I started to learn how to make beats in April of 2018. I started with this program on my iphone called iMaschine 2. Once I got better, I upgraded to Logic Pro X (which I still used to this day.) By the end of 2019, I stared to work with recording artist from California and Texas. In 2020, I continued to make beats and I also started recording people in San Diego as well. Currently, I’m still producing and recording other artist. I’ve also been making sample packs as well. Read more>>

Erika Medina

I found myself at a point of my life where I ended toxic relationships and friendships, so when I started Find Your Light Healing, my only intention was to create a safe, authentic community. I felt this strong pull to hold space for others in a healing manner. Vulnerably, and intuitively, I announced a gathering on the Libra Full Moon on March 20th, 2019 and a group of 20 joined me for a plant based dinner, journaling, meditating, and laughing while opening up our hearts. I felt this magic of community and it grew into a healing journey for almost 3 years now. As intuition led me to continue to hold gatherings under the New and Full Moons, I also started creating intentional, plant based, healing tools such as aromatherapy candles, roll-ons, body oils, herbal bath soaks, sprays and healing kits. Having a self care routine showed me one of the many healing acts I could do for myself and I knew I wanted to share with others how sacred it could be. Each healing tool, I paired with affirmations to guide others to open up, let go, and manifest their light, because it elevated me energetically every time I spoke out loud with each self care act. Read more>>

Wendy Darling

I have the wonderful ‘job’ of assisting people to get the results they want: grow their business, make more $, attract love, replenish their existing relationships, even support our youth who have learning disabilities or other challenges. With over 40 years of experience, I have a unique blend of sound business practices combined with a unique transformational system, the Miraculous Living Method. This process came to me after I passed out and survived a 25′ fall at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport, now 30 years ago. I love how my process assists people in easier and faster ways. Read more>>

Maxine Bishko

I am born and bred in one of the smallest countries in the world, Singapore. And thanks to my animal-loving family, there was never a time I lived without family pets — from dogs to cats and even quails, we raised them all as part of our family. One day, 14 years ago, before the boom of e-commerce, a friend asked me, “What if you delivered pet food like pizza delivery to all the many households who have pets?” I was only 20 years old, juggling a part-time job and full-time Bachelor’s degree in college, but that idea excited me. I love pushing my boundaries and exploring new ideas. And so I raised capital from friends and family, and began 8 years of e-commerce retail as a pioneer of the pet industry at that time, which grew into distributing pet supplies from all over the world into Singapore’s pet retail stores. Over the decade, competition increased and profit margins became slimmer in brick-and-mortar retail, so I started tinkering with designing modular pet housing to create furniture for both humans AND pets. I knew nothing about designing, or furniture, but I had a team. Read more>>

Joshua Anthony

I’m 27 I started rapping when I was 17 in high school freestyling with some friends, even met KWOOD around this time. Skating all around San Diego hitting locals spots, when I heard the homies beatboxing I always felt I had something to say rather I was just playing or really trying to go in with my lyrics in a unique way. Furthermore, when I turned 21 I took it serious and dropped my first ever mixtape (Mind Of Josh Anthony) that is when I linked with Kwood and we begin to create this rap group called FYT EMPIRE. Read more>>

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