Elitsa Hernandez would not be where she is without her resilient faith and the kindness of others.
Born in Shumen, Bulgaria in 1984, Mrs. Hernandez’s Turkish heritage placed her family in an ethnic minority. She experienced an upbringing involving Orthodox Christian and Muslim traditions; her faith became an integral part of her life. Tragically, Elitsa’s mother passed away when she was fourteen years old. Envisioning that she would someday study in the United States, Elitsa took her first step towards this dream by applying for a work exchange program in 2005. After flying into New York City, an immigrant from Albania helped her navigate bus routes from New York to her work placement in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.
While working in Waterville Valley, Mrs. Hernandez became acquainted with a Vietnam War veteran who sponsored her for a student visa. After receiving her visa, she moved to New Jersey. While simultaneously working in an upscale Turkish restaurant in Manhattan, she earned her associate’s degree in business administration from LaGuardia College. It was at LaGuardia where she met her future husband—an American citizen—whom she married in 2012.
Currently, Mrs. Hernandez is in the process of earning her Bachelor’s degree in accounting for Baruch College. Additionally, she is giving back to her community by volunteering with low-income families, assisting them with their taxes. She resides in New York City with her husband.