The 16-year-old had a lot on her plate. Her newborn had Down syndrome and needed heart surgery in Houston.
She turned to Angelica Rosales and said, “Will you go with me?”
“Yes, absolutely,” Rosales replied.
“To know you made that level of connection was wonderful,” says Rosales, the founder of House of Hope Pregnancy Medical Center.
Now part of Guiding Star, the center was the first of three non-profits Rosales, a business development representative for Sundt Construction, has helped start.
She credits her parents, who grew up in public housing, with her drive. Her dad founded JAR Construction.
When her mother was 42, she chose to have Rosales despite having a damaged heart and a doctor’s warning not to carry her to term.
“That set the stage for House of Hope. I dedicated 10 years of my life to support women through a journey with unplanned pregnancy.”
The second non-profit, Willie Sanchez Rosales Family Center, came from her family’s struggles with her older brother, who was manic depressive and bipolar.
“It was eye opening for all of us as a family.”
Despite family support, there were times he’d start drinking again and leave, and his family couldn’t find him.
“Every time mom saw someone on the streets, she saw someone’s son, father, brother,” she says.
After her brother died, the family bought a property near Sacred Heart Church to start a shelter for homeless families.
Rosales helped design a plan to create the center and partnered with Opportunity Center for the Homeless to create it in 2013.
“Mom never got to see it. She died a week before the first family went in. But it is a blessing for the community. It was mom’s way of giving back.”
Rosales also served as a founding member of Villa Maria, a temporary home for women experiencing homelessness.
She worked alongside Sister Helen Santamaria – a 2016 Women of Impact Award recipient – and Fr. Raphael Garcia to raise funds for the shelter, get it up and running and incorporate it as a nonprofit.
Some of her giving requires a little digging.
Rosales, who grew up around construction sites, was working for her brother at JAR when she discovered The Big Dig, which allowed children with cancer to operate construction equipment with a professional’s help. It was started in Phoenix by the branch of Sundt construction.
That’s how she met her current boss, Joe Riccillo, when she contacted him about starting The Big Dig event with her brother.
"It's a day of distraction when the children don't worry about their hardships," says Rosales, the incoming president of the El Paso Zoological Society.
“I learned the importance of working for what you want. My grandmother once told me that my dad had always been a dreamer. … It begins with a dream.”