We had the good fortune of connecting with Tiana Uribe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tiana, how does your business help the community?
The Wildflower Initiative provides access to books and reading materials not easily available in libraries and in many cases, classrooms. Books on mental health and wellness, inspiration, self-care, and empowerment are not readily available to teens and young adults in the communities we serve. Our recent program placing libraries and reading spaces into Teen Wellness Centers aims to provide access to diverse voices on a wide range of topics and genres to inspire, bring comfort and reprieve, and even empower students to have agency in their journeys.
We hope that recipients of our books find their voices, dream big, and find connections with the stories they read incorporating literacy and reading into their daily lives. We continue to provide books in shelters and transitional spaces for women and youth to incorporate this healthy and mindful practice into their routines as they transition into self-sufficiency.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We are a unique literacy-based non-profit in that we place our libraries and reading areas into homeless and transitional spaces. A number of our recipients are in shelters seeking self-sufficiency through community partnerships such as obtaining legal services, education, and entering or re-entering the workforce. Having a book accessible in the shelter to use as a sleep aid, or a place of escape, and to bond with their children while reading words out loud is paramount to our mission.
Starting an organization from the ground up has not been easy. A lot of time, effort, and energy spent on early mornings, late nights, and weekends have been and are a part of the experience. The failures have been a gift. We’ve adjusted and been able to provide the best possible resources and tools for our recipients while keeping our commitment to our mission and that feels really, really great. When I come to my board with an idea or I’m mulling over an initiative, it’s not uncommon for me to feel a bit crazy. I think there’s no harm in brainstorming. If they disagree or disengage, it’s a sign I may need to look more closely at the vision versus the reality. I still use my gut as a checkpoint and I don’t underestimate the benefits of a good nights’ sleep with a great book.
I want the world to know that I believe literacy is vital to self-care. Reading is one of the healthiest tools to enrich our lives and is sustainable with practice. It’s a muscle that needs continuous flexing. The magic and beauty found in a book that resonates with your own journey or voice bring a connection that is undeniably powerful. I am who I am because I read.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
San Diego is my hometown and what an amazing place to live! There are several great spots but if I had to narrow it down here would be my top places to visit. Make a two-day trip to the World Famous San Diego Zoo for the day and then go to Balboa Park and purchase a pass for the museums and have dinner at the Prado. The patio is dreamy and they often have live music during the week. Take a beach day to Coronado and visit the iconic Hotel Del. If you’re feeling adventurous the other side of the island has a fantastic Ferry ride over from the San Diego Embarcadero with live music on Sundays on Coronado Island with great restaurants and water views. Visit the Downtown San Diego library and see a Padres game if in season. There are a lot of great food spots in the park. Snorkeling at La Jolla shores and staying a night or two in La Jolla is a must. From Piatti’s to Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, and Warwick’s Book Store. Check the schedule of events. They’ve offered some amazing authors. Drive up the scenic 101 Highway through Solana Beach to Encinitas is filled with café’s, restaurants, retail stores, and the beautiful ocean. The renovated Westfield UTC mall is great for shopping! Don’t miss it. And of course, visit as many book stores as possible!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We are fortunate to have a dynamic and active Board of Directors that continue to move us forward on our initiatives. From book sorting to supporting our partnerships as we launch reading areas into transitional spaces, we are fortunate to have passionate, sincere, and avid life-long readers that strongly believe reading a book can be life-changing for ourselves and the world.
Our community partnerships with the San Diego Council on Literacy, the Family Justice Center, and high school Wellness Centers continue to inspire our growth as we evolve our programs together. Our recipients bring hope and connection to the work with their desire for more books to read! We love fulfilling our mission to empower women and youth through literacy.
The Wildflower Initiative