Although unable to speak, read or write in English when she came to the United States in 2005, Jennifer Gaxiola's innate sense of self-worth compelled her to succeed.
Born in Bellflower, CA in 1992, Jennifer soon moved with her family to Mexico, then returned to California when she was nine years old. After her family moved to Fresno in 2007, she soon began volunteering at the Center for Multicultural Cooperation, where the 17- year-old is now Executive Youth Producer, and a voting Board Member. Volunteering at the Center helped her to understand the enormous impact the Latino community has had on shaping California, an understanding which has shaped her life and her interests. Jennifer is also an All-Star for the Fresno Youth Empowerment Studio (FresYES), President of the Fresno Youth Service Council, and a Youth Service California CATALYST Ambassador. As an ambassador, Jennifer has committed herself to various youth service-learning projects.
The CATALYST Ambassadors, composed of 26 high-school students from Eureka to Los Angeles, engage in projects like organizing campaigns (toy and blood drives, community cleanups, etc.) and creating books for elementary school students. Although she enjoys and is successfully employing direct volunteerism, Jennifer's passion and the way she plans to leave her imprint on the world is filmmaking. An accomplished documentary filmmaker, her quest for knowledge of California's Latino community has led her to chronicle their roots and history through films that have highlighted Cesar Chavez and the lives of war veterans.
Knowledge really is power: Jennifer uses her creativity and passion to send an empowering message to youth throughout her community. Jennifer embodies the spirit of Express Yourself, one of many interactive tools for social change in The Unity Lab that reveals the true power of nonviolent expression.