El Paso, TX ( KVIA) -- Laura Valdez always knew she wanted to make a difference in the El Paso community. She had a knack for volunteering and beautifying her hometown. Valdez set off into the world, and at 18, she joined AmeriCorps. Although it was difficult to see her go, her mother, Lisa Herrera, knew that her daughter's heart of gold was ready to help humanity.
"Once she started advocating, she started to notice that things needed to change, and she threw herself into it; she became a force to bridge that gap," Herrera said.
After serving two terms, she participated in community-based work. She devoted her time to voter registration and education. Valdez sits on several boards, including the Museum Art Committee and the El Paso Community College Graphic Design Advisory Committee.
She recently was asked to spearhead You Rock! An all-girls Rock Camp sponsored by the Because of You Fund and the El Paso Community Foundation. The camp allows young girls, genderfluid, non-binary, and trans youth ages 10 to 18, to learn to play an instrument, form a band, write a song, and perform live on stage.
"Young girls don't usually get a guitar handed to them at ten years old and told jam out," Valdez said.
She explained that during the two-week program, parents said they noticed a boost in their children's confidence, and they were impressed by how quickly they learned how to play instruments and perform in front of an audience. She hopes to continue to be a mentor to young girls through future camps and programs.
Valdez has also advocated for women's rights and is actively involved with organizations like Sun City Pride. She sits on the El Paso Associated Pride board in support of the LGBTQ community and support of her brother. She realized that allyship is vital in fostering a community with inclusivity, so when asked to sit on the board, she took the position seriously.
She co-owns Mother of All Branding with her husband--she explained that he works in the restaurant business, so they started working with friends in the industry to figure out how to venture out and bring their vision of showcasing the Sun City in a positive view to fruition.
Valdez enjoys art and wants others to experience the art community and El Paso's talent. That is why she created Meet Your Maker; through this initiative, they partner with local artists, sell retail items, give them part of the proceeds, and the artists can donate to a charity of their choice. The 5-year-old company allows them to work with local artists and showcase their artwork on growlers, mugs, glassware, and items they sell through Mother of All Branding; they also custom cut and sew totes and clothing.
Her mother, Lisa Herrera, who owns Corporate Connection, says, "She's just done so much from such a young age; she's truly inspiring."
Now that El Paso is on the cusp of another wave of migrants and local shelters are over capacity, she feels responsible for helping in any way she can.
"There are people in our streets that need help. It's a humanitarian need, a unique position living on the border, and our responsibility." She said that her love for people and humanity is something she learned from her 94-year-old grandma. Valdez explained.
"She dedicated her whole life to helping people. Growing up, there was always someone there; seeing that had a huge effect on me".
Lisa Herrera said her daughter leads with her heart; that's the beauty people see in her. " I'm her biggest fan. I stand in awe," she said.
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