|Date submitted: October 24, 2006|
|Gift: General Gift|
|Location on plaza map: C3|
|Areas of Achievement:
Adventure, Arts, Business, Community Building, Health/Medicine, Higher Education|
|Aida Castro was born November 22, 1973 in Tucson, Arizona. She grew up on a ranch in Midvale Park “before all the subdivisions were built.” She admits that she was a tomboy and wanted to be a boy, so that she could do all of the things her older brothers could. She took pleasure in catching toads, snakes and all kinds of creatures. One time they caught a magnificent lizard, but when her father came home he told them that it was a Gila monster and made them turn it loose. She takes pleasure in remembering all the fun they had on the ranch that was surrounded by cotton fields and pecan groves. Castro attended Cholla High School, where she was just as active as she was at home. She “won a homecoming award” and an award for “most fashionable,” despite being a tomboy. |
Tragedy struck her family the year she was 15, when her father was killed by a drunk driver and life changed, taking on a deeper meaning. Castro remembers how hard the loss was on her mother, who was working as an accountant, but was not financially prepared “to take on all the responsibilities on her own.” For a brief period she admits that she became a “wild teenager,” but the rebellion was a result of anger because of the loss of her father. Having a responsible nature, she grew tired of rebelling quickly. Her father’s death became a motivating force to help Castro succeed in life as well as “make him proud.” She believes that the loss of a loved one teaches us “to not take things for granted, to enjoy the people around you and the people you love, taking every moment in.” Castro decided then to continue on to college and earn a degree.
To finance her college education, Castro used her passion for sports and fitness. At the age of 18 she began teaching aerobics, kickboxing, and weight training classes, to name a few. She worked her way through community college and then transferred to the University of Arizona, earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology and a minor in Sports Science.
Castro went on to earn a Master’s degree in Global Management from the University of Phoenix. This was a “big deal” to her because she wanted to build a strong educational background that allowed her to break free from class and gender barriers. This achievement helped her secure a job at Merrill Lynch as a Financial Advisor, in a male-dominated field. Castro notes that it was a long process and she is very proud that she works at Merrill Lynch because she is able to help women and families with financial issues.
Castro volunteers every year for the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball and is active in the Heart Association’s Go Red Community, which educates women about heart disease. Her focus on women’s health issues gives her the chance to educate women about “how prevalent heart disease and strokes are in women as opposed to just men.” A similar passion is teaching women how to take better care of their bodies. She notes “Most women are natural care takers and they forget to take care of their own health.” For this reason she is a “personal trainer on the side,” combining her vast fitness knowledge and interests in health issues. She finds helping women lose weight and educating them about the importance of exercise to be rewarding. As a part of her exercise programs, she has assisted people with rehabilitation including “elderly people who were (once) confined to wheel chairs.”
Castro loves to be active and participates in different sports like snow skiing, snorkeling and diving. She admits, “I love to exercise. I think I may be addicted…ha-ha!” In 2008, she is training for a half marathon. She attends boxing classes and Bikram Yoga twice a week, while also finding time to dance the Tango and Salsa. Her enthusiasm for fitness does not diminish and she continues to try new sports and activities. She confesses that once she belonged to a bowling league and won the “Friendliest with the Pins” award because she knocked so few of them down. She is considered by her friends to be an “overachiever,” because of her optimistic attitude and enthusiasm for helping people. “Which is true” she admits. “I love to laugh, keep positive, but most of all to help other people.”
Sources: Interview with Aida Castro conducted April 25, 2008 -- Delaina Miller