Personal struggle, many times, leads to greatness. Maria is a prime example of turning personal struggles into a mission and vision for the future.

When Maria was a toddler, her parents found out she was hearing impaired. However, this did not stop the bright and creative toddler. Then when she was 14, it was discovered that she had cancer, which impacted her vision. This also did not stop her.

Maria began volunteering with the Special Education students when she was in 4th grade. She found a place where she could brighten someone’s day. She continued to volunteer with individuals with disabilities throughout middle and high school. The ability to really see an individual with a disability is critical to a good life for both people. So many individuals who live with disabilities are viewed only as one big disability. Maria is one of those unique people who values an individual no matter what.

Her tenacity has led her to shake off any limitations. In elementary school, she was the only girl on the football team. She ran track, played basketball, golf, and loves to longboard with her trusted dog pal, Willis.

Maria’s volunteer work that began as a 4th grader is now her passion for the future. She will begin attending Ivy Tech this year to pursue a degree in Special Education. She dreams of starting a nonprofit one day. She will focus on helping individuals with cancer who have had to leave their pets behind during treatment. This is a personal mission for Maria, as when she was seeking treatment for her cancer, she missed her dog and the family that had to stay home. The cost to board her pet was something that was beyond reach, meaning her time with her family was limited. Maria wants to be sure other individuals with cancer don’t have to sacrifice visits with their family or the fear and loss of a beloved pet.

#WeRPositive that Maria accomplishes all of her dreams, and those touched by her kindness will have a better life. Maria is an excellent example of a young person who is making a life filled with good. We ask if you know of a young person who is making a difference that you Share Your Good with us.