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Success P hil an t hro py TRUE INSPIRATION From a tough start as an orphaned boy in Havana to an esteemed professional that has dedicated his life to preventing domestic violence, Dr. Sergio Llanes went from dark times to a pillar of his community. T E X T BY F R A N CE S C A C R UZ Rags to riches stories are all around us. But what really grabs our collective attention are those stories that inspire us to be the best version of ourselves possible, each and every day. Dr. Sergio Llanes is one such story. He understands struggle, he has lived adversity. Orphaned at a young age and raised by his grandmother, he found himself homeless at the age of 11 when she passed away. Every day of his childhood was an uphill battle to survive. He climbed his way out of homelessness in the streets of Havana and achieved a Ph.D. in Psychology and one Philosophy. Dedicating his life to domestic violence advocacy, he founded the Hispanic Foundation For The Prevention of Domestic Violence. Since launching his organization in 2002, he’s authored 3 books in Spanish on the subject, and is a fierce champion for women’s rights. Llanes is the director of SALAD: The Hispanic Antidiscrimination League. The once-homeless orphan has transformed himself into an internationally respected professional in the field of Psychology & Philosophy and has become a media personality in his own right. Proof that no matter the story, there’s always room for a silver lining. 52