Maya has big plans for her future. Goal number one: college. Specifically, she’s looking for a Bible college where she can expand her volunteering track record into full-fledged missionary work while putting her love of worship music to good use.
Goal number two: become a professional photographer. She’s hopeful that one day she’ll own her own camera. “And a tripod. A tripod is standard,” she adds.
At 12, she’s still at the age where children pick up and discard aspirations on a weekly basis. But Maya’s focus sets her apart. Her dreams aren’t just dreams – she's consciously working towards them.
“I'm a person that always tries to get really good grades,” she explains. She’s sitting cross-legged on her bed, notebooks spread out around her. “I'm trying to get into a good high school and then go to a good college. And then I want to do professional photography.”
Maya isn’t limiting herself to one side of the camera, either. Modeling appeals to her as well, but she’s willing to wait on that one. At least until she gets a better camera for headshots.
There is an air of self-assurance in the way Maya speaks about her plans. She’s neither cocky nor giddy. This is a girl who sees the path before her and isn’t intimidated by the hard work it’ll take to walk it. And if there are struggles along the way – well, Maya is no stranger to adversity.
The COVID pandemic was rough on Maya and her family—not, thankfully, in terms of sickness or death, but disruptive nevertheless. Housing was the biggest issue. Her mother, Carol, has multiple chronic health conditions and is on a fixed income. As rental prices crept up, they bounced from place to place. Maya did her best to keep up with a split in-person/virtual school schedule (successfully, too – she finished her last semester on the honor roll).
Food was another problem. Carol’s willingness to go without kept Maya from going too hungry, even when the family had to choose between paying bills or buying food. When they began receiving support from Feed the Children’s community partner, the Buffalo Dream Center, “it’s like they just opened up the door and helped with everything,” Carol says. “If I needed something, and I would ask for it, I never got questioned – milk, or bread, or whatever the case may be.”
In fact, the bed Maya is sitting on now came from the Dream Center. Being able to get adequate sleep, as well as enough food, is crucial for a dynamic and growing girl like Maya. Her dreams and determination are bound to carry her far, but she’ll be able to go even farther because of your help. Your donations to Feed the Children do more than provide food – they provide hope for children like Maya, who are working their hardest but, through no fault of their own, don’t have access to all the resources some of us take for granted.