Yennifer Castillo is more than a triple threat.
A senior biology education major from Opa Locka, Castillo is known to many on Florida A&M University’s campus as a friend. But behind the surface, she’s a chef, a singer, a musician, a tutor, an artist, and a business owner.
“If you have a passion, if you have a talent, if you have a service that you have in mind, just go for it,” she said.
Marvin Williams, 21, has known Castillo since 2012 and the two grew closer when they started university in Atlanta. Williams has always known Castillo as independent and hardworking; especially when she worked two jobs to manage the high costs of attending Spelman College.
“She’s not going to let anything stop her. She’s very determined,” Williams said. “She amazes me sometimes, and I’m her best friend. So, it’s just amazing to watch her grow as a woman.”
Recalling the help she needed starting at Spelman, Castillo started her own college essentials basket giveaway for students starting at select HBCUs. The giveaway included a comforter set, school supplies, assorted toiletries and cleaning supplies. In her program’s second year, she was able to expand from two basket recipients to five.
Through the International Refugee Committee, Castillo, 21, teaches two Congolese refugee girls English. She serves as their mentor but more importantly a friend they can trust.
On campus, Castillo is on the Campus Activity Board and served as the 2018-2019 Miss Rock of the South for the Alpha Xi chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi.
Castillo transitioned to FAMU in 2017 with her former roommate Rose Jean, 23. The two met in high school and have remained close. Jean had a first-hand look at how Castillo offers herself as a service to others through her many talents. Castillo surprised Jean with her artistry when their apartment was designed with hand-painted portraits that looked store-bought to Jean.
“As long as she sees a smile on your face — that’s all that matters,” Jean said.
During her time in Tallahassee, Jean was in a car accident that destroyed her vehicle. With no comment, question or concern, Castillo stepped up and took Jean to school in the early morning hours and then headed to work. Castillo’s support of Jean reassures her that their friendship will last for years to come.
“That’s just a friend you also just call when I need to talk, or I need advice or hey let’s just go out,” Jean said. “She was even at my graduation right after work.”
While Castillo is a woman of many wonders, her passion lies in service to others. Aspirations of becoming a biology high school teacher push Castillo to put her all into anything her name is attached to. Castillo sees her future as the principal of her alma mater, Miami Norland Senior High.
On giving back Castillo said, “It doesn’t matter like how far you went in life. You can always give back to your community. If everyone were to do just one act of kindness, just one service, the world will be a better place.”
Using her Instagram and YouTube accounts, Castillo promotes her culinary skills, artistry and community service. She believes in the power of inspiring others and utilizing social media to do just that.
“If the right person sees a post they can, you know, bring you up higher,” she said.
In living a life thriving off of service to others, Castillo said, “Service is the price that we pay to be on this Earth.”
Follow Castillo on her social media platforms: Instagram @queenyennifer_, Twitter @silenced_love, and YouTube: Spoon Dreams.