We had the good fortune of connecting with Natalie Salvatierra and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Natalie, what do you want people to remember about you?
I want people to remember me as a kind person with a big heart and as a person who is nice to everyone. I also want people to remember me as the teenage founder of the mental health organization, Solely Sunshine. I hope that when recipients of Solely Sunshine letters think of sunshine, they are reminded of the time they received a letter of encouragement from my organization. Like the sunshine, spreading love and encouragement can light-up someone’s day. I want people to know they are not alone in their mental health struggles, and instead that thousands of people across the globe are thinking of them.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My name is Natalie Salvatierra, and I am the 17-year-old founder of the international mental health organization Solely Sunshine, and the author of the children’s mental health book, “Do Not Worry, Little Donkey.” I was inspired to create my organization after learning that some people with an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder hand-washing compulsion wash their hands until they become bloody and raw out of fear of getting COVID. I really wanted to spread encouragement to these people and make sure that they know people are supporting them, which is why I created Solely Sunshine. My organizations website www.solelysunshine.com provides the opportunity for anyone around the world to write a virtual letter of encouragement that gets transcribed and mailed to international mental health facilities. I’d be honored for you to write a virtual letter on my website and support my journey on Instagram @solely.sunshine.
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.
I would go to my favorite amusement park Universal Studios. My dream job is to be a food scientist, so after the Universal Studios I would definitely go to amazing food spots. My dream is to go to the restaurant Vespertine in LA. I also love going to the Grove or Century City mall with my friends! 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?
I want to shoutout my family for being there for me and supporting me as I continue to work on Solely Sunshine. I also want to thank the Assistance League, and specifically the Tustin and Orange chapters for regularly participating in Solely Sunshine. I want to thank all the kind people who write Solely Sunshine letters. I am certain they are making a big impact to the recipients. I am also appreciate of Girl Scouts, Baskin-Robbins, Arizona State University, Channel Kindness, and numerous other organizations for supporting Solely Sunshine and allowing me to share my story. To all the readers of my book, “Do Not Worry, Little Donkey,” thank you. I hope you learned to be braver and always reflect on how far you have come. This journey has been incredible and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.