2021 International Women’s day inspires and empowers local women

Every eighth day of March, the world celebrates and empowers women all around the world. This year’s theme is Choose to Challenge. According to the International Women’s Day website, “International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.” Two local, noteworthy women who are making a difference in the Wheeling community are Rachel Alverado, owner of a local restaurant, and Ana Musap, junior at WLU.

Alverado owns Rachel’s on 16th, located in Wheeling. It has been a local success since its opening, though, she didn’t always have approval from others. Alverado says, “A lot of individuals said I wouldn’t make it, I couldn’t be successful, and it was just another business that was going to fail within the first year.” Despite people’s doubts, Alverado has had a booming business since 2019.

Alverado shared, “I love seeing my customers smiling faces. I love being able to feed people delicious meals and also give back to the community any chance I get.” Over the holidays, Alverado and her husband prepared Thanksgiving and Christmas meals free for the community. Alverado says she originally started the idea on a whim over the holiday season in 2019, and they served about 40-50 meals each holiday. Alverado shared, “I wanted to do more this past holiday season, so I made fliers, and we served 100 meals for Thanksgiving and another 100 for Christmas.” She plans to keep this as a tradition every year they are open.

Alvorado said her mother and grandmother are her biggest inspirations and motivators because they are her “biggest fans” and never doubter her capabilities to be a successful businesswoman. Alverado’s advice to other women is to “just go for it.” She added, “Grab a notepad and start writing things down. It all starts with just one idea. Piece by piece it will all come together.”

A successful young woman who is a student at WLU, works a part-time job, and is an active participant on campus, is Ana Musap. She is currently the Vice President of her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta, holds the secretary position on the Executive Board for her sorority’s chapter, and works as a sales associate at American Eagle in St. Clairsville. She is also a secretary for Phi Beta Lambda, or widely known as FBLA, a business club on campus.

Being a part of a sorority and sisterhood has helped Musap feel empowered as a woman. Musap says, “It is so encouraging to have a group of such amazing women surrounding me. We all support each other and most importantly, we hold each other accountable.” She added, “A lot of our girls are involved in multiple sports or organizations on campus, and it is so inspiring to see how well they handle it. As college students, we are under a lot of pressure, and being in a sisterhood allows us to have a constant support system.”

Musap finds inspiration in many women, including, “Michelle Obama, Ashley Graham, Jameela Jamil, and most importantly, my mom.” Musap shared, “At 16 years old, [my mother] left her home country of Croatia and came to America alone. She managed to make a life for herself and lived in California for many years. As a single mother, she raised three children and never complained a day in her life about it.” Musap says, “I hope to become a strong woman like her and follow in her footsteps.”

Once Musap graduates, she hopes to leave behind a legacy for other women to live by. She says, “I hope to leave the example for other women that you can do anything you put your mind to.” She continued on to say, “I hope to inspire other women to push themselves out of their comfort zone and just go for it.”

Alverado and Musap are women who lead by example. They both give back to the community in their own unique ways, both deserving recognition for their hard work and dedication. Despite many obstacles, both women are making a difference. International Women’s Day is about celebrating the women who mean the most to you and inspire us all. On this day, and throughout the month of March, remember to empower and celebrate the women who make a difference all over the world and in our own lives.