Reading is a city for the do-ers. Reading is for the go getters. Reading is a city for those who refuse to take “no” for an answer. Reading is a city for those who make a lane for themselves when they don’t fit in an existing lane. Reading is a city for those with heart. Reading is a city for those who understand that with no grit, there is no pearl. Reading is a city of a lot of things, but it isn’t for the lazy, the weak-willed, or the quitters. It is a city for those taking risks in order to achieve their dreams, and for those who want it so bad they breathe, eat, sleep and LIVE it.
The following individuals are those people. The people who move in silence and allow their work to speak for them. The following individuals don’t just dream it, but get up and work towards it every single day. Across different business, ventures, and projects, they all share the same drive. The following individuals are the ones lifting our city up, and making a difference. They are the ones who come to mind when I think of Reading and the ones to watch in 2018…
I was born and raised in Reading, Pa. I have always been an artistic person for as long as I can remember. At a very young age I knew I wanted my art to help heal people around the world, but it wasn’t until I was 21 when I realized I had a real gift! I was going through a lot of anxiety and decided to go to energy healer/medium, Barb Ruhl, to help me understand what I was feeling and move beyond my anxiety. Little did I know I was in for a huge awakening! I was having visions of spirit guides and becoming clairvoyant the more I was healing my past. That is when I decided to start my Soul Art business!
What You Do
I am a psychic artist who uses energy from the Universe and the assistance of spirit guides to paint meditation focus paintings, soul blueprints, client’s spirit guides and more!
My soul purpose is to help those who want to heal, manifest, love and align to the Universe with my psychic and artistic gifts.
I was born and raised in Reading, PA. I am the 5th born of six children from my mother. I am a jack of many trades. I work full time at my job, I am a full time mother and I run my business while balancing work and family. I graduated from Millersville University in 2015 with a Bachelors in Business Administration.
What You Do
Run an E-Commerce Clothing Line Ebony Luxe Collection
My purpose is to make women of all sizes and ethnicities feel beautiful. My goal is to always be affordable and trendy. You don’t have to break the bank to look good nor do you have to be a size 2 to feel beautiful. I want to make clothing for petite and plus-sized (I prefer to call them curvy) women.
I am a full Mexican born in the city of Reading , one of 4 brothers, first generation. Reading high grad with certification in personal training through AAAI / NASAM and CPR/AED
What You Do
I am a personal trainer at Star City Boxing and market my own brand through then , it’s called Lionhearted Fitness but the name isn’t trademark so looking at potential names that are not already taken
I do this because I believe in change and I also believe in people. The mind is a great thing and it becomes more valuable once you put it to good use. Fitness is like a religion to me people will come and people believe in it and are looking for a positive change in there everyday lives. Once you see the results/blessings you get that feeling, the feeling of accomplishment. I enjoy what I do and I enjoy seeing it work for others as well.
Born and raised in Reading, PA. I’m the youngest of 6. My parents always taught us to go after every goal we set for ourselves while also raising us as a tight knit family. Knowing I would always have my families support I decided to make a name for myself and pursue a career in fashion. My passion for fashion has always been something I was very vocal about. People would always ask me to help them put a look together or wanted my opinion on their outfits. Until one day I said to myself… Self you should purse a career in wardrobe styling. I started taking my career path very serious and I was signed to my first agency (The Elite Paris Agency) and from there it was history for me. My looks were being published, I was being asked to help for NYFW, photographers wanted to work with me and more agencies wanted to sign me. I was signed to a second agency “NewYorkFashionMagazine” (NYFM) as a fashion blogger garnishing many fans for my trademark “Get The Look By Jay” blogs and from there I started to wardrobe style for them as well. Networking myself started becoming second nature to me and before you know it, I was getting an email from HOT97with an opportunity to become part of their team as a fashion blogger. I took the offer and since signing my contract with HOT97 I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities, as well as meeting so many people and being blessed with renewing my HOT97 contract. I have so many upcoming projects that I’m extremely excited for and I’m just blessed I took the opportunity to make my mark in my city to end up being known globally for doing what I love! Stay tuned and be on the lookout. I’ll be moving to ATL in August for a major opportunity I was humbly given by my HOT97 team. Reading is on the map and I’ll continue to keep Reading on the map!! Let’s win!!
What You Do
I’m a wardrobe stylist known as “JayTheStylist” (J.T.S) I also a fashion/hip hop blogger.
The fashion/blogging industry.
My “why” is my family. They motivate me and support me like no other. I just want to make them proud because they mean everything to me and I also want to show everyone in my city, look the odds were against me and I made it out and so can you!
My purpose is simple. To do right and kill everything!!
Beanz has earned her title as arguably one of the best female lyricists in the tri-state area. She became an artist at the early age of 12 when she starting writing poetry to calm the ease of her struggles. Coming from an urban background, Beanz began to develop a love for hip hop and decided to take her artistry to the next level. As expected, her talent came natural, she began studying the art of lyricism and began perfecting her craft into the young leader you see today. Aside from her Hispanic background, her beauty and talent is just a few things that makes her stand out from the rest. Her motto is “It’s Only Up From Here.”
Female Lyricist Beanz was born in Reading, PA. She was exposed to music at an early age due to her stepdad DJ Ces playing and keeping up to date with the latest music in the industry. She’s known in her hometown as that girl who was spitting rhymes in the back of the bus and when asked to drop a few bars, she let them know who Beanz is.
She has been featured in XXL Freshman magazine and has performed with artists such as PNB Rock, Cory Gunz, Freeway, and Fred the Godson to name a few. She released a song and video with Fred the Godson titled “Sunshine”, produced by the HeatMakerz and videography from Ciroc Boyz. She also released a song with Beanie Sigel in 2016 titled “6Teen”. She has released several mixtapes: “Explicit Lyricist” was her very first mixtape released in 2015 and is available on DatPiff; D.O.P.E. (Delivering Over People’s Expectations) was released in 2015 and is available on Spinrilla; “Painted Pictures” is available on Live Mixtapez, Spinrilla, and MyMixtapez. She released an EP titled “Lipstick and Timbs” in 2015 which can be found on iTunes, Googleplay, and Amazon. Her latest project titled “New Found Gold” was released in July and can be found on iTunes and Googleplay.
Her “Shook Ones” challenge was shared by Mobb Deep themselves quoting them “Baby girl hungry.” Her videos have been shared by iDiscoverStars and World Star Hip Hop. She has been featured on several blogs such as thisis50.com,dondivamag.com, and hiphopweekly.com to name a few. She was recently featured on MTV’s live show TRL.
To say Beanz is hungry is an understatement. Follow Beanz here and on all social media outlets for future updates.
What You Do
My business is rapping. I put out projects, I ghostwrite for people, I do features. The whole nine.
My purpose is to keep the culture alive! I love hiphop and it deserves a lot more these days.
I am Puerto Rican and Italian. I was born and raised in Reading, PA. Since a very young age, i’ve always had a passion for music. Starting in elementary school I was researching music before my time and scouting for the next talent. I haven’t stopped since.
What You Do
I run a music music blog, Taliahvibes.com, where I can put you on to music from established and upcoming artists. I am currently working on an all natural skin care line. All natural products can be pretty pricey sometimes and I want to make it affordable for all. Oh yeah and I create music mixes too.
My purpose is to do all the things I love in life as a living and inspire people to do the same. Most of us have a 9-5, but we also have 5-9 to keep working on our dreams!
RHS 2015 Alumni, I am Hispanic (Dom/Puerto). Born and raised in reading Reading,PA. Currently have a 5 month old son.
What You Do
I run a local clothing line formally known as Rebel era started back in 2013, presently known as 3RV. I’ve had major success within the brand. In 2015 we were featured in the Reading Eagle as well as Fox29 news. I’ve sold over 1000 pieces of product over the years and still counting. I am now a proud owner at 22 years old of a print shop opening late February early March. Knights printing and I of course I named it accordingly for my city. Lastly have just been added to the DearRDG podcast and will be making my debut shortly.
My “why” purpose is opportunity. I don’t believe growing up I was exposed to much opportunity growing up in the business aspect. Not how to run a business nor maintain one. I want to be able to have a key partnership with RHS and The Olivets to have kids come in and intern or work. Give them that opportunity to be able to work in a different environment as opposed to the food services or retail. I would also love to use my platform to host many community events. That’s big for me. Community things. That’s something I wish I had more growing up. I want to be apart of the development in the city and I feel that as a 22 years old I’m at the forefront of it. I named my Shop Knights printing solely on the fact that I’m so in love with where I was raised and I wouldn’t trade this place for anything. I hope in the future more kids takes chances and chase their dreams younger. Love your people and the people will love you back.
My name is Marquise Richards, and I grew up in Reading, PA. I graduated from Reading High in 2014 and will be graduating from Susquehanna University in May of 2018 with a degree in Digital Multimedia – Broadcasting and another in Theatre Studies. I was the first of my family to go to a four-year university, and I hope to start my professional career after college to give back to my community.
What You Do
Creator/Host of the Dear Reading Podcast.
I have found my “Why” changing up after this year. I want to use my Broadcasting and Theatre degree to enact some of form of social change. I want to uplift marginalized groups and cause conversation using theatre, my podcast, and entertainment. I want to use the podcast to challenge perceptions and serve as one of the voices of the young people.
Located in the greater Reading, PA area, Kirsis is a passionate career make-up artist with over 5 years of application experience. She found her calling as a make-up artist after getting in-depth with her creative aspired themes, which clearly translates in her work. Kirsis has that hard to find eye for detail, which will enhance the beauty of others.
What You Do
Freelance makeup artist. I love to empower women through makeup. The reaction, once seeing their completed look, is priceless.
Honestly, its the only thing I have done that makes me happy. I’d rather do this than anything else.
Combining my love of music and street art, I’ve developed my own style of canvas work honoring hip hop culture. Self taught and determined, I’ve worked solely on my art career since 2013 developing what is now WKiD Creations, LLC. Beginning with just canvas work, I’m proud to now offer more than just original art. Being able to share my passion with those who share the same love at every price point is important to me.
What You Do
Owner/Creator/Visual Artist for WKiD Creations, LLC
My sole purpose is to provide for my two children by means of my passion. Hip hop culture and art.
Nicol Varona is a 25 year old Dominican Republic native and a 2009 Reading High school Alumna. She currently works at SEI Investments in Oaks, PA as a SEI Wealth Platform Marketing Analyst. Nicol earned her bachelor’s degree in Business with a concentration in Marketing and Management from Penn State University. Click here to read Nicol’s full bio!
Jiolka Peralta is 27 years old. Jiolka graduated from Reading High School in the year 2008. Jiolka then attended Alvernia University and Graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing. Immediately after graduating college Jiolka started working at Iron Mountain and has been there for 5 years. Jiolka was recently promoted to Customer Success Manager and really enjoys her job and working with her customers. Click here to read Jiolka’s full bio!
Mayerlin Reyes is a 29 year old. She moved to Reading, PA from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 2002 at the age of 13. She received a BA from Alvernia University with a dual Major in Human Resources & Management. Mayerlin currently works for The Reading Hospital Tower Health as a Patient Financial Service Specialist. Click here to read Mayerlin’s full bio!
Cory Varona is 28 years old and a 2007 Reading High School Alumni. She is an Accounting and Finance Analyst IV at Santander Holding Company in Wyomissing, PA. Cory graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with an undergrad in Accounting and Financial Services. Cory will be completing her MBA from Penn State University this upcoming May. Click here to read Cory’s full bio!Why
These four friends created Curly Sisterhood to bring awareness about natural hair. Natural hair has not been accepted in the Dominican community for many years and this brought us together to start a group that could help others embrace their hair and inner beauty. The curly sisterhood was born as a project meant to encourage woman to embrace their natural beauty by sharing tips, hair routine, experiences and products for curly hair through social media. The page has been very popular with a great response from the local community and abroad.
“Writing for my life cause I’m scared of a day job.” – Common
What You Do
I’m a writer, speaker, educator, and founder of lifestyle brand and writing/speaking company, Scared Of A Day Job LLC. I’m in the process of releasing my first book, ‘Make Love Your Religion,’ coming February 2018.
Gilbert and Claudia area husband and wife duo and owners of Clean Floors & More. Claudia born in Puerto Rico and raised in Reading. Gilbert born and raised in Reading. They have 2 teenage kids.
Claudia works full time with Manderbach Ford, 9 years with the company and handles Clean Floors & More’s payroll, accounting, and bookkeeping, along with other task that keep the business operational while caring for her family. Claudia enjoys trips and being with her loved ones. Claudia’s goal is to transition into a “full time” (leave 9-5) role with Clean Floors & More.
Gilbert got the idea for Clean Floors & More while working for The Reading Health System’s environmental services maintaining floors and providing other janitorial services. Gilbert then took the idea home to Claudia and they decided to run with it. Gilbert manages the day to day operations from marketing to setting up accounts, training, and supervising.
What You Do
We are a cleaning service. We specialize in combining cleaning, carpet cleaning and floor cleaning for commercial buildings and offices in Berks County. We perform residential carpet cleaning. We also work closely with property managers, landlords, and realtors. We employ 15 Berks County residents. In 2018 we are seeking to expand the amount of our cleaning contracts, while continuing to build our carpet cleaning with residential and commercial carpet cleaning clients. Our commercial carpet cleaning target will include high rises and senior living communities.
My wife and I envisioned a lifestyle for ourselves where we are able to work, build, and manage a business. A business that we work on, not work in. Our goal is spend more time together and work alongside each other. We seek to use Clean Floors & More to create a life where we will spend our time as we choose (together). Gilbert is full time with Clean Floors & More and Claudia works 10 hours 5 days a week at Manderbach Ford, with the goal to transition out of her full time job in the near future. Our goal is to pull off what some see as impossible and take full control of our days.
Dominican Born, Reading Raised (What specific information did you want? )
What You Do
I like to think of myself as a social entrepreneur. I do real estate sales and investments as a profession. I help people as my passion. When passion meets business that’s when I feel that I am at my happiness.
I want people to be afforded opportunities so that they can stop the cyclical nature of poverty. I want to be where things are the worst and I want to work collectively with communities to improve them. I believe that in order to change the world you must change the minds of people. The worst thing that a person can be is poor. Poor to me has nothing to do with money. Poor to me has everything to do with a mindset that says that tomorrow can’t possibly be better than today, the belief that things can’t get better. I love having conversations with people because I feel that it is through conversations that minds and ideas evolve. We are our most powerful when we can open up our eyes to somebody else’s life. Tupac once said, ” Learn to see me as a brother instead of two distant strangers”. My why is helping inner cities like Reading PA become places where families can go from poverty to wealth in the same neighborhoods. To help inner cities become places that are open to the arts. To help inner cities become places where the old feel that they can make a better place for the young, and where the young feel like they can take over the WORLD. I see myself in people, I share their fears, insecurities, and hopes. I want to be a voice for people as they grow into their own voice. I want to challenge the world to be more together and to dialogue it’s way into a better place.
I am an Dominican born American that spent most of my youth in Reading, PA. My family originally lived in Queens, New York then moved to Reading in 2007. I’m a Reading High School grad and former Varsity football player, Class of 2018! LET’S GO RED KNIGHTS! New York gave me my mentality but Reading made me. Earlier this year I moved to Orlando, Florida to finish my education in Music Production at Full Sail University and pursue my dream of being a musician.
What You Do
I am an Artist, I primarily make RnB and Soul but dabble in Hip-Hop. I’ve been at it for 3 years now stemming from my poetry and my love of music. Right now I am a solo artist, I started off in a rap group named “Apocalyricists” we were a collective of Reading artists but one thing led to another and we all went our separate ways. As of right now, I am doing a lot of songwriting and singing preparing for my first EP that should be dropping early to late August. All of my singles are out on youtube and SoundCloud. I am also a producer, been at it for 1 year trying to be the next Pharrell in the making. Besides that, I am an actor and Youtuber informing people of the many questions and concerns they have about my school. I am also a full-time Alchemist. You can find all my work on my youtube account MANZ (linked below).
My “Why” derives from my tireless dreaming. Of course, I want to ultimately supply for my family and leave a legacy but my main purpose is to create and enrich the world I live in. I want to inspire and jump start anyone that crosses paths with me. I come from a lower middle-class family, my mother was an immigrant and my stepfather is an African-American man who grew up during the civil rights movements and the Reagan Era. I’ve had a taste of both of the cultures and I have bared witness to racism, drug abuse, poverty, inner city crime, murder, violence, and entrapment. My purpose is to shine light on people’s situation. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do or what situation God has placed you in. You can do whatever you dream of. I am living proof of it, I can delve into my past and list all my obstacles, hardships and failures and link it to the success I am facing now. That is a testament to my work ethic, my drive, belief in my dreams and the grace of God. So to wrap that up my why/purpose is to only spark other peoples belief and work on creating more dreamers that act upon their dreams. Tap into the minds of the visionaries and get give them the tools and motivation to make those visions come to fruition. My purpose is to contribute to a better future with great music, sharing of knowledge, love, and inspiration to all of those in need. In the scope of things, I do not wanna change the world, one man cannot change the world. But, I would love to inspire the many people who can change the world, make them believe in themselves enough to do it.
Besides my music work, I am working closely with my good friend/manager Mateo Toro on a Music Label and a top-secret development that should create a huge change in the city of Reading. The plan is under wraps until we get some funds to back it. But the first place I want to move in the right direction is the city that raised and inspired me to always be greater. From Music to knowledge to love to growth to prosperity.
I was born in Colombia and was raised there until I was 5 years old. I spent most of my youth in Reading, PA. My family moved originally from Queens, New York. I am Reading High School Grad class of 2013! I graduated from Penn State this past May with a degree in International business and marketing.
What You Do
I own a content production and consulting company called, Retorocle. I focus on tellings stories for businesses and brands and help them market their services and products. I also am a Youtuber and am extremely passionate about creating travel videos, short docs, and content specifying in culture and food. I am also my best friend’s Manz’s manager, who is a recording artist currently based out of Orlando, Florida.
My purpose drives from one day being able to completely provide for my parents, but also when I have a family of my own. I want to inspire and elevate anyone’s people way of thinking that I meet and have a relationship with. I want everyone around me to follow their passion and create opportunities for themselves. I want to help people who have dreams to follow them and achieve them, whether that be through helping them create a business plan or stemming from a motivational conversation. My purpose in a sense is to take care of my family and help as many people as possible as well!