Michelle Franco

Four years ago, Michelle gave birth to a daughter, Vivaldi. The months that followed, though, turned dark when Michelle’s relationship with her boyfriend became abusive—and she knew the relationship had to end.

She has been now supporting herself and her daughter for more than three years, working waitressing jobs while she attends the College of Southern Nevada. When her brother died last year, she took care of his son. She is now married—she describes her husband, Fabian, as “the greatest person I’ve ever met”—and has a second daughter, Kalidasa. The name means “servant of Kali,” the Hindu goddess of time and change.