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For someone who has worked with inmates, terminally-ill patients, survivors of abuse, and other people in need of relief, Rocio understands how creating genuine human connections from simple conversations or large group discussions can immensely help in improving one’s well-being.

Also read: Strength Of The Feminine: Laura Lehmann, Amanda Fernandez, & Patricia Santos On Empowering Others Through Freedom, Humility, And Openness

There is something about Rocio Olbes-Ressano that makes you easily feel comfortable when you meet her. For someone who has worked with inmates, terminally-ill patients, survivors of abuse, and other people in need of relief, Rocio understands how creating genuine human connections from simple conversations or large group discussions can immensely help in improving one’s well-being. One of her key messages is empowerment drawn from experiences, “When you use your trauma as a tool of empowerment, it can’t destroy you. So if you help people based on what you’ve gone through, then you are taking control of the situation. But that comes in time, people have different stages. What you’re going through, if you can use it to pull yourself off, you’ll be surprised how many people you can help by doing that.”

One of the advocacies she has is The ‘Teh Talks which she co-founded with Stephanie Zubiri, Cristina Cu, and Kimi Lu. She gamely shares this piece of advice, “I think that you will get further with any advocacy that you have if you’re able to choose to surround yourself with people that help you bring it forward.” Each of the four women has a specific focus. Stephanie talks about nutrition, Cristina talks about careers, Rocio talks about mental health, and Kimi, as an actual life coach, helps everyone implement and bring change to their lives. So far, the educational panel has been successful. But how she got the ball rolling, was from a different advocacy altogether.

Bars to Bears is an artistic recycling project which Rocio founded with Natalia Cruz. The duo helps local inmates by providing them with sustainable livelihood even behind bars. The teddy bears are made from recycled cloth clippings from designers, which are then donated to children in need. Rocio tells us that by interacting with the women inmates, she was able to lay the groundwork for The ‘Teh Talks. “What I really learned there was the more these women created bears, the more they became better and the more they were able to speak. And I got very interested in their mental health, and how the arts was helping them. And so from there, with my other friends, we started The ‘Teh Talks,” she shares.

Not one to rest on her laurels, Rocio’s successes only paved the way for more opportunities to help others.

Read the full story of Rocio Olbes-Ressano written by Pipo Gonzales in Lifestyle Asia’s December 2019 – January 2020 edition titled, “Agents Of Change.”

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