Subject: Local Puerto Rican Mom, Ex-P&G Researcher, & Business Owner – Helping Thousands in Puerto Rico
Fort Mitchell, KY—Watching the hurricanes pummel her native island of Puerto Rico last fall, Fort Mitchell resident Mariela Oyola-Brauch knew that she would be stepping up her company’s efforts to provide support to the people of Puerto Rico. Celebrating the company’s first anniversary, founder and CEO of Jibaro, Oyola-Brauch’s company is a lifestyle brand with a mission to celebrate and promote authentic Puerto Rican heritage. The company sells men, women and kids apparel including shirts and hats, and decorative items for the home, donating ten percent of all profits toward nonprofit organizations based in Puerto Rico.
“I was saddened by the continuing negative news coming out of Puerto Rico and wanted to create something all of us who love Puerto Rico or call ourselves Puerto Ricans could celebrate and enjoy,” said Mariela Oyola-Brauch. “I’ve traveled to Puerto Rico multiple times since the hurricanes hit and have seen firsthand the devastation people are living with every day. Our Jibaro products provide a positive way to both promote Puerto Rico and to give back to the people.”
In addition to founding her own company, Mariela has become an organizer for Puerto Rico events throughout the Tri-State area. Only a week after the hurricane devastated the island, Mariela used Jibaro’s Facebook page (#JibaroRoots) to reach out to all Puerto Ricans living in the USA that had not been able to communicate with their loved ones in Puerto Rico, due to lack of electricity and inconsistent internet and cell phone services. With the help of Mariela’s family living in Puerto Rico, they were able to locate almost 30 elderly people in 10 different towns and send videos and messages confirming their safety back to concerned family members. In addition, Mariela recently helped organize a major hurricane relief effort with leaders at Madison Avenue Christian Church, identifying and partnering with PANI (Programa de Adolecentes de Naranjito, Inc.), who will be using the fundraising proceeds to help increase psychological and counseling services for children and adolescents in Naranjito, Puerto Rico. Mariela also separately collaborated with Covenant-First Presbyterian Church in downtown Cincinnati and Cincinnati for Puerto Rico, to raise and donate funds towards the recovery efforts. Most recently, Mariela managed a project with Water Mission (Watermission.org) to begin the restoration of an inoperable water well that serves over 300 families in Naranjito, Puerto Rico. Through her efforts, over 1,000 individuals that have been without a functioning water source for over 5 months, will soon have a sustainable solar powered well.
Migrating to Bronx, New York at nine months old, Mariela’s family returned to Naranjito, Puerto Rico to be closer to family members. After obtaining a Chemistry degree from the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Campus and a master’s degree at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, Mariela worked as a chemist for almost ten years, developing and innovating consumer products for Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s most prominent marketing and manufacturing companies. Mariela’s passion to serve those in need led her to work at Crossroads Health Center, an inner city medical clinic, and as a Spanish medical interpreter at the local hospitals. Along with being a fulltime mother, Mariela is an active volunteer; who has mentored a young girl for 10 years, participated and led numerous domestic and international service travel to trips to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Central and South America.
Jibaro has sold its merchandise to customers located in 27 U.S. states and 45 towns in Puerto Rico. Jibaro has donated over $1,500 to non-profit organizations since its founding in March 2017 and currently has over 5,000 Facebook followers.
Mariela Oyola-Brauch received the Impact 100 Wendy H. Steele Award for volunteering excellence through her leadership with the Hispanic Network Mentoring Initiative and her active involvement in the community.
For more information about Jibaro, visit https://www.jibaropr.com/.
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