Nahieli Caldwell of La Jolla holds a place in her heart for young children in need
Nahieli Caldwell, born in Mexico, said she was very young when she first witnessed the hunger of the poor and the cry for help in the eyes of innocent children. The experiences forever changed her life. In her attempt to support those in need, she became involved in many causes ranging from cuddling babies at the DIF Children’s Home in Mexico, to the rehabilitation of at-risk girls at The Girls Probation House in Virginia.
Caldwell studied law at the I.T.E.S.M. University in Monterrey, and continued her education at George Mason University, receiving a Bachelor in International Legal Studies with honors.
In 2009, she joined San Diego Social Venture Partners, and became a founding member of Heels2Heal, which most recently helped Miracle Babies raise a significant amount of money. Caldwell said she loves to volunteer in various organizations, but especially with her son at the Bernardy Center for Medically Fragile Children. Caldwell lives in La Jolla with her husband Reed and three children.
What brought you to La Jolla?
I do not believe in coincidences. I believe that things happen for a reason, and an opportunity to learn is always present. What brought my family to La Jolla was another affirmation of this belief. When my husband, Reed, and I met we both knew we didn’t want to stay long in Virginia. We had both heard that San Diego, particularly La Jolla, was such a gorgeous place and the weather was always beautiful.
During our honeymoon in Bora Bora, we met an amazing couple who are now our dearest friends. When they mentioned they were from San Diego, Reed and I immediately looked at each other and simultaneously said we were going to move there in the near future. Even though we had never been there, we were convinced that La Jolla was the place we wanted to raise our kids. Coincidentally (or not?), one of them mentioned that he was a Realtor and said that if we were serious and that time truthfully came, to give him a call so he could help us find what we were looking for. Three months later, we planned a trip with the kids to visit San Diego, we all fell in love with the city and decided that no matter how we would move soon. Against all odds, we moved to sunny San Diego four months after that visit.
What might you add, subtract or improve in the area?
We lived very close to the Village for three years, and I’d love to get rid of that smell coming from where the birds and seals live! We live in the Shores now, so I might like to magically raise the water temperature several degrees all year round.
Who or what inspires you?
There are many people that I admire and who inspire me, but I would have to say that my family is the “who” that inspire me the most to be the best person I can be.
The “what” would have to be any act of kindness and compassion, especially when directed toward a child. My grandfather, one of those people I deeply admire, used to say during his years in the government, “Every program for the future must begin with the child. Children have been the inspiration of my government.” Alfonso Martinez Dominguez (1985).
Children are not only our future, they are from whom we learn the most (like unconditional love), and who we should protect the most. This is why I feel so passionately about Miracle Babies and its mission to provide support and financial assistance to families with critically ill newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?
I would start with my best friend, accomplice, and love of my life, my husband, Reed. The other seven would be: Jesus, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Abraham Lincoln, my late grandfather Alfonso Martinez, Nelson Mandela, and Eckhart Tolle. The latter, so he could keep reminding me to be in the present moment at this surreal dinner party I am having with all my favorite teachers and archetypes.
What are your five favorite movies of all time?
Those would be: “Gone With the Wind,” “The Godfather,” “Out of Africa,” “Casablanca,” and the “Shawshank Redemption.”
What is it that you most dislike?
Violence and cowardice; I believe that fear is the opposite extreme of love, what separates us from each other, and what drives people to behave in ill and hurtful ways.
What is your most-marked characteristic?
I believe that talking about oneself is not polite, but I do try incorporate in my practice the important question of “who am I?” I think the answer to this question lies in the things I love to do. I enjoy being around people and learning what it is that makes each one of us behave the way we do. This has allowed me to seek and meet people from different backgrounds, cultures, and countries.
I have discovered that we are all very different, but also that we are all intrinsically one. When you look deep into the eyes of a person you can see their soul and at that profound level it is easier to communicate more purely with who that person really is and what he/she is really feeling.
That is why I truly value the feeling of empathy, because it allows us to experience deep connections with others and where we can feel the power of the collective and our relationship to source, to oneness.
What is your philosophy of life?
Nothing can ever go wrong when you act with kindness. My name, Nahieli, literally means “Love”, so I try my best to live accordingly to what my name represents. Be Happy. Be Here. Be Kind. Be Love.
What would be your dream vacation?
Traveling is one of my passions in life, I have had the opportunity to visit different countries and have seen a little of the breathtaking beauty of the world we live in, but I have yet to visit a place that is truly a retreat from the modern, hectic world. Somewhere I can connect with the area, the people, the culture, and the environment and glean the energy and pureness from it. Perhaps Tibet, a place where I can just “be.”
What is your greatest extravagance?
Signing in haste a one-year lease on a house in La Jolla that I had only seen in pictures via e-mail, not knowing with any certainty if my family and I were going to be able to relocate from Virginia. I just had total faith that things were going to work out in our favor so we could move to our dream city.
Editor’s note: Miracle Babies will have a 5K from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 11 at the Embarcadero Marina Park South. To register, visit www.miraclebabies.org/upcoming-events/moms-5k-for-healthy-babies/ Race day registration onsite is $35.
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