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Meet Erica Alfaro of Jenel’s Jewelry in Oceanside

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erica Alfaro.

Erica, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born in Fresno, CA, but moved and grew up in Tijuana, Mexico. My parents never had the opportunity to go to school, they didn’t know how to read or write but knew the importance of a good education.

At 13 years, my family moved to Oceanside. We lived in a small two-bedroom apartment with another family in a community with gang activity and poverty. Teenage pregnancy was common, and at 15, I found myself pregnant. I dropped out of High School, moved to Fresno with my son’s father and lived with domestic abuse for many years. My life took a turn the night that my baby’s father forced me and my 9-month baby to sleep outside the house.

In the midst of despair, I remembered when I was 13, my mother took me to work with her in the tomato fields during summer vacations. When I told my mom that I was tired, her response was, “This is our life, we never had the opportunity to go to school. If you want a better life, then you need to get a good education.” That is when I realized that I had to make the change and go back to school.

In 2019, I received an M.A degree in Education from San Diego State University. To honor my parent’s sacrifices of coming to this country to give me a better life, I had my graduation pictures taken in the field where my parents worked long hours. Those pictures went viral and my story was shared around the world. That unexpected event allowed me to become a Keynote speaker on demand. I started my own business, “Jenel’s Jewelry,” one month before my pictures went viral. Now I have more than ten independent sellers that sell my jewelry. The business started with the idea of one day paying it forward. I wanted to find a way to make extra money so that I could help students with scholarships. I am currently in the final stages of publishing my first book, “Harvesting Dreams,” and now I travel around the country to deliver a message of hope. As of today, I have more than 20 speeches scheduled. This is just the beginning.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Going back to school was not easy. My baby’s father tried to discourage me so many times by ripping my homework and telling me that I was just making a fool of myself. He used to ask me: Do you really think you can graduate from high school? You don’t even know how to speak English!

I became a single mother at the age of 17, with no financial support from my son’s father (he was never a part of our lives) I struggled financially (I had to work full time while being a full-time student).

I was already halfway my first semester of undergrad school when my son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Everything happened so fast, all I can remember was “your son has cerebral palsy”. Cerebral palsy is a developmental disorder. That was the beginning of many months of depression. I was academically disqualified from CSUSM in 2013. (I had to complete a long and difficult process to get reinstated back. in 2017 I was selected to be commencement speaker for my graduation ceremony).

Please tell us about Jenel’s Jewelry.
I currently work two jobs, the first one is as an operation manager for CURATIO Life Sciences. The second job is as a Behavior Consultant for the Regional Center. (This is what people don’t know about me)

I am known for the pictures that went viral, I’m a Keynote Speaker. My story appeared in every news channel in the United States and it became an international news. www.alfaroerica.com 

I am the CEO/Owner of Jenel’s Jewelry www.jenelsjewelry.com

It makes me proud to know that I help women generate an extra source of income. All my independent sellers work based on commission; they don’t have to pay fees to be part of my business. The extra money that I make from my business allows me to speak for free in 40% of my speaking engagements. (schools, non-profit organizations)

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Even though I was born in Fresno, CA, I grew up in Tijuana, Mexico. My favorite childhood memory is the first time that I visited Cal State San Marcos. Coming from a poor neighborhood in Tijuana. I was very impressed with the scope of CSUSM. It was my first school field trip and it’s one of the most vivid memories that I have of coming back to this country.

Pricing:

  • I give free speeches to nonprofit organizations
  • My rings can be purchased in person for only $20

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.jenelsjewelry.com
  • Phone: 760-224-9687
  • Email: jenelsjewelry@gmail.com
  • Instagram: alfaroerica47
  • Facebook: Jenelsjewelry / erica.alfaro.100


Image Credit:
Aldair Sanchez (Photographer)

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