Fernanda Botello

Strong, resilient, independent and empathetic Fernanda is a wonderful part of what makes ITM be so special

All About Me

My name is Fernanda Botello. I am 20 years old and am the 3rd child of 3 and the only girl of immigrant parents.  I was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. I am currently getting my Bachelor’s degree in Communications at Cal Poly Pomona. Before getting into the position of getting a degree in college, I went through and continue to battle through obstacles of life.  Growing up in South Central was never easy, but nevertheless, I saw beauty and a love for my community.  

My family and I lived with my grandma, which was very hard at times. During the time of middle of school, my dad got very sick. His diabetes led to multiple changes in his health and normal life. My dad began dialysis, had parts of his legs amputated and had to endure multiple treatments. All through middle and high school, all I knew were medical terms, hospital life, struggles and thinking and acting like an adult.  It was not easy.  There were many times that we were close to losing my dad, but his positive energy and his jokes kept us going.

Hitting high school, my dad suffered his second amputation, which was a drastic change for him.  Getting back to walking would take time and going back home with stairs would be a no go. Money was tight and family support was lacking.  My mom knew the best decision was to move, which brought us here to Montebello.  When we moved, I began my senior year in high school.  I did not want to start new or leave my community, so I lived with my aunt and uncle for the whole year and on the weekends; I came home to stay with my parents. It was tough, but I became independent.  I had to push myself on my own to continue to finish school successfully, train for cross country, see my family and be young. I had to remind myself to find time to be young. 

All my hard work paid off as graduation approached. The day before my graduation, my dad was admitted to the hospital for a cold. Due to his condition, he needed to stay in the hospital. Having him miss my graduation was devastating as he was really excited to see me graduate. The day of my graduation, I went to see him and we both cried and hugged. He told me how proud he was of me and how upset he was that he couldn’t be there. The month after graduation was most definitely the hardest month of my life. My dad suffered from an infection and became even more sick from the lack of care at the hospital. He fought and fought, but every day his state was questionable.  He was given a second opportunity to have treatment somewhere new.  My mom agreed and he was transferred to White Memorial Hospital.  Arriving there, it felt different.  It felt peaceful.  I hung on to hope.  Two days later, on July 12, at 6:40 am I woke up and felt confused. A few cousins stayed with me and told me we should leave early for the hospital.  I knew.  I stayed quiet until we got there. I then found out that at 6:40 that morning, my dad had passed away. 

Ever since my dad’s passing, things have been tough for my mother, my siblings and me. It is tough not only with not having my dad here, but not having family or things to look forward to. Since then, I started college and all the new experiences of growing up.  Being just my mom and I, it can be tough.  She was diagnosed as disabled after the passing of my dad and financial support was tough. I took it upon myself to contribute at home. While in the mix of finding a job, I came across ITM from the clothing vlogger, Twinelle’s youtube video. I drove by one day and met Maribel. She introduced me to the place and the opportunity of work. Through that experience, a lot was introduced to me and I knew this was meant to be. Not so long after, I began to work at ITM.  Working here has brought me many great opportunities.  It has brought me to connect with others who care and believe in me. This place is the start of what I want to do in the future, give back, help others in similar positions that I was in, give them the chance and let them know that there is good in the bad. Although I have lost a huge part of me, this place has given me something to look forward to. Through every obstacle I have gone through, I cherish it as it has made me the person I am today and I hope to use my growth and experiences in life to contribute to the world.