Red Ladies 2024: Giselle Pelaez

Red Ladies 2024: Giselle Pelaez

Story by Liesel Schmidt | Portrait by Jonathan Thorpe

Giselle Pelaez’s life revolves around children. As the Executive Director for the Center for Alexandria's Children (CAC), Inc. for the past 16 years, she dedicated herself to the organization’s mission of ending child abuse in Alexandria. “I’m incredibly proud of the significant partnerships and collaborations we foster and maintain because they enable us to be effective and impactful in our strategies to treat and prevent child abuse,” she says. “Every child in Alexandria deserves a safe, loving family and to have their basic needs met. The prevention of child abuse is everyone’s responsibility and requires the commitment and engagement of the entire community.”

"The Go Red movement’s focus on women’s cardiovascular health goes hand-in-hand with the prevention work that we are doing at the CAC. Early adversity and neglect all have lasting impacts and increase the risk for negative outcomes in mental health, maternal health and chronic conditions like heart disease."

- Giselle


Peleaz considers her own children as an incredible inspiration—both in life and in her work. “My children are amazing and an unending source of inspiration,” she says. “At 21 and 17, they have lived through a major pandemic that isolated them at a critical time in adolescent social development. The biggest lesson that my husband and I have learned from them is that there is no straight-line path to adulthood. Theirs may not look like the traditional one that we were on; and that’s okay. We have learned to appreciate each day/moment/stage with our children and prioritize their health, well-being and happiness. Life’s too short to do otherwise.”


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