Distinguished Young Alumna of the Year: Brisa DeAngulo '07

Brisa DeAngulo ’07 had a desire for justice and started her career in activism long before she received her B.A. in Psychology at Eastern. DeAngulo’a father, Jose DeAngulo MAR ’85, and brother, Juan DeAngulo ’06 attended Eastern, so she was already aware of the small community, but it was the University’s commitment to faith, reason, and justice that truly drew her in. When she began attending Eastern, she was still struggling emotionally with the traumas that she had been through as one of the first adolescents in Bolivia to bring a rape case to court. She spoke very little English, but had a desire to learn. Her psychology professor, the late Dr. Weathersby, spent extra hours with her, tutoring and teaching and giving her extra work. The atmosphere of justice and social transformation at Eastern served to focus her on the mission she was given as a young girl. 

Two months before attending Eastern, Brisa started Centro Una Brisa de Esperanza (CUBE) seeking to provide victims of sexual abuse, specifically young girls, with professional support. The desire to create such a place stemmed from her own experience as a victim of sexual abuse in Bolivia. “I dreamed of a place where I could provide girls with the professional support that I never received. I wanted to provide them with a place where they could break the silence and be believed; where they could find comfort and hope among other survivors and together muster the strength to build new lives for themselves,” Brisa said of founding CUBE. 

Today, CUBE is an organization with bases in both Bolivia and the United States (A Breeze of Hope Foundation) made up of a team of lawyers, psychologists, and social workers that provide free comprehensive services to child and adolescent victims of sexual violence, and work consistently toward making changes within the the flawed Bolivian justice system. CEV and CUBE work together to prevent sexual violence, offer educational opportunities to impoverished families in Chilimarca, Bolivia and holistic support to victims of sexual violence. As founder and CEO of CUBE, Brisa’s responsibilities range from securing funding and support, to researching and implementing the best practices. 

DeAngulo was recognized as a 2016 Global Hero, awarded by Safe Magazine. The award recognizes people who leverage their public platforms to support those at risk for or who have suffered violence of all kinds, in order for them to live free of their fears and traumas, and prevent it from happening to others. DeAngulo says winning the award means “our hard work is making an impact, one that’s seen on an international level.” It also serves to display the organization in front of larger organizations that would be vital in increasing the reach of the ministry. Within the next few years she is hoping that CUBE and CEV will serve as leaders of change within the Bolivian government and educational systems, to reach out to more children and victims across the country. 

Living in Bolivia with her family, Brisa saw every day the kids in her neighborhood returning from school still suffering from the violence experienced in school. She was moved to seek relief for the mistreated students experiencing the worst kind of education while she experienced the joys of learning with her sisters in the comfort of their home. So, at the age of 7, she set about gathering spare wood and stones around her house to set up tables and chairs in her backyard. She invited her neighborhood children into the safety of the makeshift classroom, and helped them with their homework assignments, while showing them that school can be fun. The school, which is now known as Comunidad Edicativa Para La Vida (CEV), grew into a fully functioning school with teachers, students and a building by the time she was 14. 

This article was originally featured in the Spring/Summer 2017 Edition of Eastern Magazine. View the full magazine here.