Amanda is on a mission to make every person she meets smile at least once per interaction through her sarcastic wit and heartfelt humor. She was raised by a single mother. With no biological father around, her mother struggled to support her through good and bad times. Amanda recalls that it wasn’t always easy but with the help and support of others, and sticking together, they survived. Her first language is Spanish, which didn’t help her with her misguided thought that she was actually of Puerto Rican decent until she was 8! Since being a tad bit dramatic in her twenties, Amanda has been on a journey to discover her true self, and not be what everyone expects of her. Apparently her true self has 8,000 hobbies including making a mean shadow box (and don’t get her started on her button trees). A menagerie of talents from cooking to playing video games (yes, she sees that as talent), she is also working on writing her book. Now in her thirties she has calmed down, found the man of her dreams, and working on starting her family and securing a home, all while working on getting her degree in writing. Her only heartfelt dissidents in life is about the struggles of the less fortunate. She likes to help others in any way possible. Donating her time with Habitat for Humanity, NJ Cares, Big Brother Big Sister and donating blood to NY Blood Center.
She’d be the last person to let you know it, but her favorite place in the world is Disney World, which is why she brought it home with her full collection of at home DVD’s! Jen is a music enthusiast who speaks fluent Brandi Carlile. When she’s not at Disney, a concert, or her super sized family gatherings, Jen works as a Mortgage Underwriter, and Processing and Closing Supervisor. Jen started her career at her current bank, 14 years ago and has steadily climbed the ranks. Her diligent work ethic and love of family make her an all time grounded friend anyone might need. Although growing up Jen struggled with her identity as a lesbian, she finally found the strength to come out to her family when she was 20. Oh, and don’t let her fool you, she’s definitely a ‘hugger’.
Karen is a divorced single mom navigating life between her twenties and thirties, aggressively in pursuit of big dreams, love, and happiness. By day, she works in the wine & spirits industry; in her free time she indulges her passion for writing and creativity by working with ARTS By The People, a nonprofit focused on making the arts easily accessible to all. Karen is obsessed with learning, life, and career/self-improvement. As a writer for sites such as Elite Daily, Career Contessa, and Thought Catalog, she believes life is what you make of it, and is on a personal mission to be a better person, every single day. She’s passionate about love, art, travel, and writing, and is hoping to use her voice to help in the fight to end extreme poverty and the homelessness epidemic. She knows when to be serious, but also believes you should never take yourself too seriously. She also loves music, Diet Pepsi Wild Cherry soda, & cats. Come say hi on Twitter & follow her on Instagram @k.lenore81
Kristine is a hardworking wife and mother to four beautiful, crazy kids. Kristine considers herself a survivor, coming out of a tough early childhood, periodic homelessness in her early adult years, and an emotional and physically abusive relationship (which brought along her first child) – relatively unscathed. A foster child who was lucky enough to get adopted when she was 7, she always knew she wanted a big family to undo the mistakes of her biological mother which she’s achieved with the help of her amazing husband. Aside from being a mom, she is a hardworking woman who, despite being a college dropout, is doing very well for herself. When time permits, Kristine loves the outdoors, shopping, reading, all of the arts, but especially loves to attend symphonies and the opera – being a classically trained pianist. Kristine is passionate about empowering women and helping those in need, whether homeless or in seemingly hopeless situations. She is a true advocate of education and evaluating the way we teach our children to ensure the safety and well being of our world. Kristine, a true Leo loves being the center of attention and making people laugh. She firmly believes in everything happening for a reason and also in making things happen for a reason.
Lilian is a working mother of two daughters ages 4 and 1. She was taught by her immigrant parents that life is about hard work and finding enjoyment in the little things. As the youngest of 5 children, Lilian learned the importance of family. She has had multiple levels of experience in the insurance industry and prides herself on her work ethic and pursuit for the next achievement. However, her best achievement call her Mommy. She loves animals, music, anything Disney (with two little girls, she can’t get away from it), all types of food and wine. Lilian hopes to achieve a world where decisions and actions are made through love and compassion more so than hate or fear.
Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Maria emigrated to the US in 1995. The struggle to learn a new language in her teens pushed her to understand how we communicate more deeply. Maria graduated magna cum laude from Montclair State University with a B.A. in Communications and Media in 2015. Some of her passions include writing, traveling, learning about different cultures, photography, playing with puppies, and drinking margaritas. In 2014 Maria was awarded the Excellence in Communication and media Arts award, as well as the Distinguished Student Paper 2013 award. Maria is passionate about worldwide current issues such as human and animal rights, gender issues, natural health and fitness.
Melissa is a wife, mother and entrepreneur. In 2011, she received her professional photography certificate from the New York Institute of Photography. Melissa’s bright outlook and sarcastic sense of humor are sure to brighten your day, but her life hasn’t come without struggles. Melissa struggled with infertility after she was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) before finally having her first child after 3 years of fertility treatment. Since then Melissa’s little girl was also diagnosed with epilepsy at 2 years of age. Melissa doesn’t let it get the best of her though, she works hard to provide a safe and healthy home. She does it all while being the go to party planning, margarita makin’, photo takin’, Queen of the crafts.
“I believe in respect for all life. I believe in making life changes to reflect your life views. I believe if you attack a person verbally, you’ve shut their ears and closed their minds to anything you have to say. I believe education and understanding are key roles in making the world great, and most of all, I believe if we come together as a people, we can change the world for the better.” From a young age, Patrice has shown a great deal of interest in the environment. As she grew, so did her interest in environment. Growing up in a non-traditional household in urban NJ, she fought to find her way. After serving in the United States Air Force, Patrice received her degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources in 2014. During her time in the Air Force, Patrice secured many awards, including Joint Service Achievement Medal for her time served in Afghanistan. Patrice is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Applied Sociology.