Maria Dawes, a sophomore at Mesa Community College (MCC), is a student leader active in community advocacy. As a single mother, she balances her commitment to the community while maintaining high academic standards. Through her concerted efforts with the college and community, Maria has shown consistently that she is attentive to the growth and well-being of others. During her tenure at MCC, she has been involved with Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, Organizing for Action, National Advocacy & Training Network, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Civic Action Engagement Team, Community Engagement Advisory Board, Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan's Millennial Advisory Group, and is serving as an AmeriCorps Member with Mesa Counts On College.
As a member of a national grassroots community organizing nonprofit, she organized events such as GrowAZStrong, an event to strengthen the community from the inside out with a leadership development workshop. She networked with the local Holocaust Survivor's Association to secure a Holocaust survivor to speak with students on mass discrimination. In addition, as an AmeriCorps Member, she is propagating a multi-week, city-wide, parent engagement project to increase students' enrollment and success in college. Maria's enthusiasm is contagious, her vision exceptional and her tenacity unstoppable.
Civic engagement is a right, a responsibility, a privilege and a duty that strengthens the individual character and community. To be civically involved means that I am committed to investing time and resources for the prosperity of the world around me. As a result of my service and leadership, I have experienced personal growth and development. As an honor student the organizations I have served gave me an intimate look at what truly makes a community flourish.
From educating students on discrimination against the Islamic community to creating a mentor program for a local women's domestic violence shelter, the positive changes I have seen have encouraged me to expand my horizons. In addition, I am honored to serve as an AmeriCorps Member as well as a member of Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan's Millennial Advisory Group. These humbling experiences have empowered me to remain steadfast in advancing my community. Once I realized the importance each individual plays in the bigger picture, and how intricately our lives are woven together, it became clear I must take action. I have discovered every problem has a solution in which I am committed to being a catalyst for change.