Gabi Rodas: A Helping Heart
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
SAN RAFAEL — Gabi Rodas has always had a heart for helping others, so it only made sense for her to find a profession that allowed her to do just that. “My work isn’t just about making money, it’s about caring for others, which is very important to me,” she affirms. “After coming to the United States from Guatemala at the age of 17, I got my first job as a house cleaner, which I did for several years. Eventually, I decided to start my own business—something that would utilize my work experience but also allow me to make a positive impact. When I looked into the construction clean-up industry, I could tell it was just the opportunity I’d been looking for.”
Today, as owner of Construction Clean-up by Gabi, Inc., Gabi says her favorite part of her job is creating healthy living spaces. “Construction work produces a lot of dust and other contaminants that can cause health problems for the home’s inhabitants. Whenever I’m cleaning a newly built or remodeled home, I’m thinking of the people who are going to be living there, and that motivates me to do the best job I can. It’s very rewarding to know my work helps keep families safe and healthy in their homes.”
A resident of San Rafael (where she lives with her husband and three children), Gabi devotes much of her free time to serving her community. “I like helping those in need, especially senior citizens who have trouble keeping up with household tasks,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll deliver food to them or help them clean their homes.” When she’s not volunteering her services, Gabi enjoys spending time with her family. “I love coming home to my family after work and spending time together on the weekends. Sometimes we’ll take little trips—for example, in the winter, we go to Reno to play in the snow, and in the summer we go camping.”
In her life and career, Gabi attributes her altruistic impulse to her first-hand experience with poverty and opportunity. “Growing up in Guatemala, my family was very poor, so life was a constant struggle for survival,” she recounts. “When I came to the U.S., I was blessed to make many friends and be surrounded by good people who helped me succeed. I think that’s why I feel so passionate about helping others—not only do I know what it’s like to be in need, I know how life-changing help can be.”
When asked the first thing she’d do if she were to retire tomorrow, Gabi says she’d stay dedicated to helping others. “I have a dream of opening a small school where young people can learn about important things like health and life skills. I’d also like to write a book about my life, with the hope of inspiring others. Additionally, I plan to someday return to Guatemala and get involved in improving living conditions and educational opportunities for young people.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: Coffee or tea?
Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: New Year’s Day. To me, the New Year represents a fresh start with new opportunities, and that makes me excited.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: No. I’d rather share what I have and give things away.
Q: If you could travel anywhere you haven’t yet visited, where would you go?
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A: Actually, I’d like to see more of the United States.