It's true, she was a chola!  She might still deny it, but she once admitted it to me! Maribel  was in a City Terrace crew! "Foo! What do you think a crew is? You were in a gang!", I told her when she shared the story with me.  She still runs with crews, only this time it's a crew of like minded leaders that want to empower, and create opportunities for our youth. Maribel realizes that we can't leave it up to our local politicians alone, to solve all our problems.  So she took initiative and created a non-profit organization that services our youth (14-25yrs). In The Making in East LA resells gently used clothing donations at a small retail store on Cesar Chavez and in ecommerce markets. Part of their youth training involves reading The Four Agreements, where students learn about stress management and personal growth. ITM team guides youth in the implementation of the four agreements to their daily lives and relationships.  Youth also learn sorting, pricing, marketing, branding, clothing reconstruction, community outreach, charity work, event planning and more.   Money raised from sales is used to employ local youth to help run the store and support educational/career endeavors.    In the Making holds regular meetings with the youth. They invite community leaders and experts to speak and mentor the youth. They break bread, celebrate, and volunteer throughout the community.  They build community as they help rebuild our community! 

As a school counselor in East LA, I have been praying for an organization like this that I could refer all my students too.  An organization that takes ALL youth. Many of the youth I have met at ITM come from broken homes and have been through extremely tough times. 90% are first generation chicanos. MARIBEL and I agreed that their experiences are similar  to my own and Maribel’s experience growing up in East LA! I wish I would have had an In the Making and a Goddess mercado when I was growing up! 

Can you relate? How can you help? Refer any and all youth in need of mentoring and community.  Donate all your gently used clothing and household items to ITM.  Come shop for your fabulous outfits at major thrift discounted prices (I now only shop,  mostly shop at ITM for my outfits) at 4024 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90063

Come support our student run @thegoddessmercado   and @thequeermercado

Please donate ($10- $?) to our YES fund here   follow ITM on IG @inthemakingla_boutique  check out their website HERE 

All money raised is helping create jobs for our youth here in EastLA!  

Meet Maribel Valdez- CEO in East LA

Donate to the YES fund. We hire and empower East LA Youth.

Maribel being honored by Hilda Solis for her unselfish leadership and work with our youth. 

Young Maribel

Maribel back in the "days" (tu sabes)!

Maribel and daughter who is currently enrolled in university.

Beauty, brains, fearlessness, and heart!


  • What an amazing and beautiful blog. Maribel is a badass lead chola with an amazing heart and vision. You are an inspiration for woman of all ages!

    Carolina Velasco
  • Love this! Y’all are doing incredible work and I’m so looking forward to working with ItM through the Queer Mercado. ❤️ Gracias Diana for all you do and continue to do for community. 🤗

  • Very nice post, and Maribel is even more amazing in person! I feel so lucky to know her and to be able to work with Maribel is a dream come true. She brings so much light and positive vibes to her work, that people can’t help but be interested in any initiative she is dedicated herself to. Maribel understands that the youth are our future, and it is up to us to be the change we want to see. Thanks Diana, keep rockin the world!

  • This is so beautiful! I absolutely love ITM and so blessed to be surrounded by such intelligent and hard working women that help mentor us youth to the right paths. I am so thankful for meeting Maribel for she has changed my life positively in many aspects. ITM is a place of comfort, growth, and embracement. It is a wonderful place to be apart of and I encourage any youth to please consider trying to get involved, even if it’a volunteering, it goes a long way❤️ I love you Maribel and i love you as welll Diana you guys are fierce leaders!

  • What a great post! Maribel is an inspiration to not only the youth she works with, but also many of us. Exhibiting not only her passion and determination but also her kindness. Cheers to Maribel!! A chola at heart 💖


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