Shawn Castellanos: Portion Control Supervisor & Never-Ending Volunteer
While it is not a requirement to live out the ‘Vibrant’ in Vibrant Meals, Shawn Castellanos, supervisor of portion control, sets an incredibly high standard for living into the name, all without being asked.
Shawn’s authoritative, yet cheerful voice and her boastful, yet joyful laugh carry throughout any room, and any building, that she enters. It is a part of her character that adds so much vibrance to Vibrant Meals.
“I love to be able to give that energy to other people,” she said. “I feel like I’d be great out here in retail!” Even though Shawn’s domain is more behind the scenes, she brings that same energy into her hard work with the portion control team.
Starting in May of 2019, Shawn came to work with the company as a portion control worker. Having known Romana Biscarini, co-founder, from Calvary Chapel and Renew Ministries, she had a close understanding of the life giving opportunity to work with Vibrant Meals.
“Romana had us come over here when I was in the program, to tell us her story, her background and how she came to love the Lord Jesus,” she said.
As a volunteer and mentor in the Renew program, Romana dedicated her time to encouraging, building relationships, and working out with the women in Renew.
“Romana used to come a couple times a week to work out with us, but I had a situation where I wasn’t able to workout the way all the other girls could workout,” explained Shawn. “So she would work with me on other things I could do, which was really cool because she always came alongside me saying ‘we can modify it, we can do it like this’ and so we got close.”
Once Shawn started working with Vibrant Meals after she graduated from the Renew program, she came to see that Romana and her husband Marco, co-founder and CEO, shared more in common than the company and a last name.
“With Marco, I love his attitude, his love for Jesus, how he loves to come alongside all of us, and help us to strive to be better.,” she said. “He is willing to invest in us. Not only will that help him, but as far as feeling like we accomplish things and make certain goals and strive to do better.”
From getting to know the co-founders on a more personal level outside work and through her work, Shawn recognizes the importance of her role and the benefit of her work community.
“Vibrant is an amazing opportunity in my life, to be able to learn new things that I have not ever been able to do because of my past life,” she said. “Vibrant to me has allowed me to blossom into the woman that I am today.”
Coming from a past of addiction, Shawn had not been able to carry a position such as supervisor for the majority of her life. However, once she was accepted into the Renew program from her home state of Florida, she was given the opportunity to find new meaning and new opportunities in her life, such as Vibrant Meals.
“It’s my very first time being a supervisor over a position,” she said. “There’s a lot of things its showing me as a person which is how to come along side my workers and push them to be better, having real understanding of what their needs are, not just mine and how PC runs, but knowing that everybody works different, and its showing me how to be a good leader. It's fun, it's different, it's a lot of work too, but it’s so great. ”
Now in a full time management position and a graduate from Renew, Shawn has dedicated her life to volunteering and helping others around her.
“On my days off, I usually go to the Renew house,” she said. “When I was in the program, people that graduated would come back to the house and it would allow me to see that it does work and that it can work.”
In an effort to strengthen that community within the Renew house, she also helps host a weekly Bible study and volunteers to help women get back on track in life by dedicating her time by taking them to the DMV, setting up bank accounts, and driving them wherever they need.
“Coming from an addiction past, it’s hard to keep going forward when that’s all you knew and unfortunately, 25 years of my life was that,” she said. “Even though I’m coming up on three years clean now, that's only three years compared to 25. You still have struggles, but speaking into other girls' lives and letting them know that it does work, helps. All you have to do is stay in the community.”
If all of her volunteer work with Renew wasn’t enough, Shawn and her husband also volunteer every Sunday as second grade teachers with Calvary Chapel.
“The huge opportunity that this is as far as being able to speak into children's lives is that I wasn’t able to do that on my own,” she said. “Being able to do that now in somebody else’s kids life is an amazing opportunity and it allows me to be a light in a little kid’s life that I wasn’t able to be in mine because of addiction. It is very precious to us.”
With all of her volunteering and her hard work at Vibrant Meals, Shawn continuously pours out her giving and joyful personality to anyone she encounters. By putting forth effort to transform her approach to life, it has become evident she is worthy of her leadership position at work and in her personal life.
“I just love working here,” she said. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be doing something better in my life and to help be a part of this company that is growing every single day.”