ABOUT, It's My Life

My name is Marcella Maggio, in 2018 I launched It’s My Life, a business built on the statement I frequently heard youth use whenever I questioned their behaviors or beliefs:  

"It's my life."   "It's my life!"   "It's my life?"

Regardless of home or neighborhood, youth claimed their life was their own but their conviction was never convincing. Instead I heard doubt and wanted to understand why.

In 2008, I began conducting research with diverse communities and theorized why youth hide behind this blanket statement, and how it negatively affects their relationships. 

Unsurprisingly, the results had me identifying with those who labeled themselves as "at-risk" or a "victim". As a survivor of ACEs, I understood what it felt like to grow up in a home and neighborhood where I felt unseen and unheard. I recognized my former self in their responses, but what I didn't find was their resilience.

Inspired by their words, I created programs, activities, and discussions with trauma-informed, resilience-focused approaches to empower participants to usher empathy and eradicate ACEs in their neighborhoods by becoming Trusted Adults.

She was very real, NEVER sugar coated ANYTHING.
She always answered everything HONESTLY.
— Youth Participant

ABOUT, Marcella Maggio

It's My Life is about my life, from the traumas that contributed to a victim mentality, to the truths I learned by facing ACEs, to the Trusted Adults I've met along the way.

In February 2015, I met such a person; one who has encouraged and supported my road to resiliency. During our first year of dating, I did what I did best... I pushed, I pulled, I feared the worst. Until I did something I hadn’t done before, I learned to trust and fall in love with myself, while learning to trust and fall in love with him. He created a safe space for me to be myself, and patiently helped hold my hurt until I learned how to manage it. Today, he and I are stronger than ever and the proud parents of a toddler who keeps us on our toes, and trusts us to be the adults she needs. 

When I'm not providing prevention education about ACEs and ABCs of Relationships (Awareness, Boundaries, Consent) in an effort to prevent child abuse, relationship violence, and sexual assault, I'm living life by spending quality time with my family of loved ones and Trusted Adults, educating youth about their rights and resources through Dear Fourteen, a universal rite of passage to ease transition during their fourteenth year, or penning my memoir What It Feels Like For A Girl.

My ACEs & their Impact on My Life:

  • Middle child between brothers, shamed for being a girl

  • Daughter of Mexican mother, my best friend & biggest bully

  • Daughter of father who lived at home, but was never “present”

  • Victim of rape & sexual assault at 15, 16 & 22

  • Mother at 19, abandoned by the father

  • Moved to Virginia, married another "traumatized child", divorced 2 years later

  • Single mother of 2, always tried to "get away" & "start over", moved into 9 homes in 8 years

After returning to California, I decided to volunteer for the agency who supported me as a victim of sexual assault. I wanted to give back. During their state required 60-hour Crisis Intervention Training, I learned about the ACE Study. For the first time, my struggles and "solutions" made sense. My thoughts, actions, and reactions had all been compromised by toxic stress, an impact of ACEs. This information only fueled my curiosity to learn more about the study and myself.

Throughout my seven years as a volunteer and employee (Hotline Crisis Counselor, Emergency Shelter Relief Staff, Administrative Support, and Prevention Educator) of the agency, I was often praised for my "survivor skills" and invited to speak at events and create materials for departments. My experiences introduced me to an array of clients, whether survivors in a shelter or participants in a classroom, who reminded me of the SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) Advocate who first told me I "survived to thrive". I had no idea what she meant then... but I do now.