Julissa Cruz Gutierrez became deaf when she was only five years old after medication administered for an illness damaged her hearing. She attended a school for the deaf, but after transitioning to mainstream education, she endured chronic bullying. Julissa chose to rise above it all and today she rocks a cochlear implant, can read lips, and is the first in her family to attend college. As if that weren’t enough, her mother works seven days a week, and Julissa helps out at home taking care of younger family members. She wants to give back to her family and community, and she’s been described as a “force for good in the world”. I couldn’t agree more!