Flower Power

A simple flower arrangement can change lives.


Arrangements made by Yissel Vasquez-Angel

Ana Garcia-Cabrera, Staff Writer

Guatemala, as well as other Hispanic countries, is known for its cultural differences as well as the extreme poverty from which citizens suffer. With the addition of the coronavirus, many poor countries like Guatemala suffered.

In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, the estimated evolution of extreme poverty rose in Guatemala, with 1.75 million more people experiencing poverty according to the International Food Policy Research Institute’s interim report on the impact of COVID-19 and preliminary policy implications in Guatemala.

Yissel Vasquez-Angel, an IB sophomore wanted to help out in this time of crisis. During the 2021-2022 school year, Vasquez dedicated her MYP Personal Project to making and selling floral arrangements, while donating portions of her proceeds to foundations supporting Guatemala after their economic crisis.

Vasquez’s inspiration for choosing this project was partly due to her Guatemalan nationality. She has always had the desire to help others, as she has heard about the suffering people in her parent’s country go through daily.

“I was always aware that many Guatemalans didn’t have the resources we have here in the United States. It always breaks my heart hearing that the country where my parents are from is consistently struggling due to the lack of housing, food, and access to healthcare,” Vasquez stated.

The MYP Personal Project was an opportunity for her to make a difference for her country as well as herself. Vasquez was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or, POTS, causing her to have an uncontrollable heartbeat as well as other symptoms, such as fatigue and dizziness. She was unable to do many things, impeding her ability to physically partake in her classes freshman year.

“In a way, I wanted to prove to myself that I can do many things despite the health challenges I have faced,” Vasquez remarked.

Vasquez had originally named her business “Orchids by Angel,” later rebranding it to “Flores de Amor” in February of 2023. Her goal was to receive $400 to donate. As a beginner business person, she was unable to meet that goal, but managed to gain $265 by the end of October 2022.

Vasquez donated this $265 to the charity Homes for Homeless Families in Guatemala, through the God’s Child Project. This charity helps build homes for people in need within Guatemala, allowing them to live in a safe environment. Vasquez believes her business is different from other floral arrangement businesses because her efforts stem from the heart. Although she currently keeps some of the proceeds for herself, she makes sure to prioritize her main goal of helping those in need.

“People struggle and sometimes they just need a push, a helping hand. I will never forget to do that, and that’s what makes my business different,” Vasquez exclaimed.

After the MYP Personal Projects were finalized, she decided to keep her profitable business going. She makes sure to accommodate her customers’ wants as best as she can.

“Others may want a card or another meaningful detail, it all depends on what I’m asked. A detail I like to incorporate is a little gold butterfly that adds a cute touch,” Vasquez mentioned.

Vasquez plans to continue with her profit business and use the money she does not donate to charity to support her college fund. Her floral arrangements allowed her to change the lives of others as well as her own. This comes to show how small things can achieve big goals with the passion and diligence to make a change.