We had the good fortune of connecting with Nancy Rivera and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nancy, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I never thought of building the business that I have today. Coming from a family with humble roots, a very conventional home, with the day-to-day situations of any Puerto Rican family; where luxuries could be scarce, but never values, the warmth of home and of course, sharing bread with the family. They were the perfect setting for my interest in serving our community.
I worked for more than 11 years as a teacher and although I loved what I did and how it could impact the lives of children and young people, I felt that I could do more. So I combined the experience of life and the professional, the desire that moved me to help others, and the restlessness of wanting to do more; I impel myself in the adventure of founding Family Secret Helpers and all its projects. Focused on coaching, education, family, community, and much more.
With a lot of effort and faced with the great challenge of managing this entity of social responsibility, we have achieved in this corporation, impact lives.
What should our readers know about your business?
When I started my business, I wasn’t sure what I would really do, I just knew that I wanted to help other people. The first service we offered was helping young people living in low-income settings motivate themselves to go to college and change the course of their lives. We also got involved when natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes affected our area, we take donations and emotional help.
A short time later, I got involved in offering motivational talks to veterans and helping women (wives of an active) who did not speak English, to translate documents or even if they had an appointment and needed a translator. During the holiday season, we sent Care Boxes to the active military, full of products and letters or writing made by my students, so they would feel closer to home.
In the years that followed, I decided to dedicate myself to working with women, especially victims of domestic violence. Not only did we provide them with the support or service they needed, but we also helped them regain their identity, their self-esteem and improve their self-esteem.
Time passed and when I realized it, I already had a business that impacted the community, helped and motivated people to be a better version of themselves. It was not always easy, there were many moments when I thought about taking myself out and that I could not continue with all this responsibility. I didn’t want to lose the essence of why I started and that is precisely what helped me stay on the right track.
I had the opportunity to have my own radio show, in which we discussed different topics. I remember one Sunday, after finishing my radio show, I received a phone call from one of the listeners, who thanked me because she had been thinking about committing suicide. I can tell you that that moment gave me goosebumps, she told me that for some reason she had been on the station and listened to the program that day, the words that I had said helped her understand that the solution was not to end with her life, but she faces what tormented her so much.
Life is about working with what bothers us, not about empowering the problem but about looking for solutions. And that is precisely why I tell my story and run my business all around helping people. I had every reason to give up and be a “nobody” in life. I offer tools to people so that they can get out of their comfort zone and challenge them to start doing wonderful things and see life with different eyes.
Then in 2018, we added other projects. One of them is to work with families who have lost a loved one because they died as a result of violence. Other projects are to work with children and adolescents, both in the emotions and in the educational area.
During the pandemic, we started with two podcasts (one in English and one in Spanish), in addition to a digital magazine and a TV program (Talk Show).
If I go back to 2012 and see how I started with Family Secret Helpers and everything we have managed to do and how far we have come, I have to say that I am satisfied. Starting a business, a project, a dream seems to be difficult and it is, but when we do the things that we are passionate about, everything turns out to be more interesting.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Puerto Rico is small in size but big in its beauties, places, food, and people. Our island has mysterious caves, where you have the opportunity to go on excursions and learn about the local culture. You will also be fascinated by visiting rainy parks full of nature to rest like “El Yunque”.
The Atlantic Ocean to the north of us and the Caribbean Sea to the south, allows us to enjoy beautiful beaches. Without forgetting, how historic our San Juan is.
Places that I would recommend to anyone who visits us for the first time are:
Castillo San Felipe del Morro (San Juan)
Parque Nacional El Yunque (Río Grande)
Museo de Arte de Ponce
Playa Flamenco (Culebra)
Viejo San Juan
Cueva Ventana (Utuado)
Isla de Caja de Muertos (Ponce)
Playa Crash Boat (Aguadilla)
El Faro Los Morrillos (Cabo Rojo)
Paseo de la Princesa (San Juan)
Isla de Cabras
Castillo de San Cristóbal (San Juan)
Parque de Bombas (Ponce)
Museo Castillo Serrallés
Sure, there are many other places to visit, I’m sure that one week would be enough for us. Now let’s talk about food and drink. You cannot leave Puerto Rico without trying a Piña Cololada, a good Coco or a good cup of coffee.
Not to mention eating:
Arroz con gandules, pernil de Guavate
Alcapurria, Bacalaitos, Pionono y Pinchos de Piñones
Un Quesito y su pan de la Panadería Fernández en Carolina.
Un Chillo con Tostones de Naguabo
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Kids. They have been my best cheerleaders. It is true that we have had difficult moments and moments that have been loaded with a lot of work, but they have been there, supporting me. They know each project and the service we offer. It feels good to know that my children see me as a positive example, after all, they are the future. Seeing their faces when we achieve a goal and seeing them get involved in our projects gives me peace of mind knowing that whatever happens, our legacy will continue for generations. Thank you Jaymie and Angel for supporting me in every adventure, I love you.
Instagram: @emputate_nancyrivera // @bempower_women // @familysecrethelpers
Facebook: @EmputateconNancyRivera // @BEmpowerWomen // @FamilySecretHelpers