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Rising Stars: Meet Arianna Chavez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Arianna Chavez.

Hi Arianna, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
The initial idea was to minimize health disparities by connecting individuals to free health clinics, health services, and screenings. I figured, as a student, the easiest way to do this was through Instagram. In September 2019, I started an Instagram page. At the time, it was called San Diego Health Opportunities.

As I reflected more on my own experiences and on the experiences of people I knew, I realized that health outcomes are the result of much more than just having access to health care. From here, I began posting food distributions, diaper distributions, scholarships, etc. I also changed the name to San Diego Free Resources.

In September 2020, I posted a short video to my page explaining the mission and goals of Instagram.To my surprise, it was viewed over 60,000 times. Overnight I went from having ~ 700 followers to 7000+ followers.

Alright, 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?
There’s been a few struggles. (1) When I started the page, I had no clue how social media marketing worked (when the page was founded, I was a biology major at UCSD). I had to teach myself by doing my own research and being mentored by the social media manager of a local nonprofit.

(2) Running the page takes a lot of time, sometimes even 20 hours a week. I did everything on my own while juggling school, two jobs, an internship, and wet-lab research. I now have interns who help me a lot.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
We connect underserved communities with local resources in hopes of minimizing health disparities. We are known for connecting individuals to resources that minimize food insecurity and housing insecurity while also posting resources that increase access to health services and higher education.

I am most proud of our more recent project, “#FirstGenBLD” which is dedicated to connecting first-generation students to the resources they need to access higher education.

Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
Not being afraid to ask for help – For a long time, I did not ask for help running the page but eventually, I realized I needed to to be able to reach more people. Eventually, I took on interns who have helped connect over 100,000 individuals to free resources in a single month.

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Image Credits:

Sofia Arrizon, Jazlyn Velasco, Kassandra Ortega, Halelujah Temesgen, Alejandra Torres Gomez

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