Inspiring Latina: Police Officer, Philanthropist & Entrepreneur Lourdes Nieto

In addition to your volunteer work and your job at the Chicago PD, you also own your own business! That's amazing.

Yes! I own a candy table business. It's going slowly, as this is all kind of new to me. When I get a new account to make a candy table for a party or a quinceañera, part of my proceeds always go to support homes for human trafficking victims and survivors. 

I've had this business a little over a year. I wish I could dedicate all the time possible to it, but I get pulled in so many directions. We've mostly grown through word of mouth and friends of friends. They'll tell me they're having a party, and I'll set up a candy table for them.

Running my business takes me away from the heaviness of human trafficking. What happens to the victims -- it's a cross. It doesn't leave you. I wake up thinking about it, and I go to sleep thinking about it. But, I get to set up these beautiful tables with my business. It's a relief. I'm a very artistic person, and I like to dress things up. I like to make things look pretty. It's a job, and it's a business. I love seeing the end product, and seeing the smiles on their faces. It's a relief from my daily life. 

Who are some of your inspirations? 

I'm very fortunate to have surrounded myself with the same types of individuals. Seeing how they give back -- to the community and the world -- is an inspiration. I have friends who go out to feed the homeless every Sunday. Personally, aside from the friends I have, my mom is an inspiration. She's the biggest push. The biggest influence. She basically sacrificed her entire life, her career, what she could've done in her life for her family. She did it with a smile, no complaints, no regrets. She has a huge heart. There's nothing she wouldn't give. That big heart of hers is just contagious that way. It influenced me. Even those days that I'm tired, I know someone is watching me. There's other people than just you. You might not hear it, but they do appreciate it. 

Any final words for our readers?

Get out there and help! Whatever the cause is -- helping animals, helping nature, helping your own community. Whatever it is, one person can make a difference. I never thought that one person could make a difference, but it's a ripple effect. You keep people inspired, and others want to help. One person can make a difference. 

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About this author

Cristina Arreola, Associate Editor

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