In the northwest area of Volusia County, FL it can be very hard for Hispanic children who are in a low socioeconomic environment to succeed and excel. However, Maria Christina Paulino has proven that handicaps, such as low income and a language barrier should never deter anyone from doing all they can at their best effort.
A high school student from T. Dewitt Taylor Middle-High School in Pierson, FL, Maria’s commitment to helping her school and community has been an inspiration. This commitment was proven during the trying times and disastrous events that occurred during the 2004 hurricane season. Maria volunteered with the Red Cross, Project Achieve, FEMA, and the Salvation Army every day, all day, during the days that the schools were closed. Maria saw where she could help and without being asked, volunteered her time unloading trucks and distributing food and water. Because Maria is bi-lingual, she was invaluable in helping to give aid to those residents in the Pierson area who did not speak English.
At her high school, Maria volunteers her time assisting the teachers in the Spanish department. She helps a fellow student who is hearing impaired with class work and homework. Maria not only helps her peers but also younger students. At the Pierson Elementary School, Maria is part of Project Share, collecting and wrapping presents for underprivileged children. With all of this, Maria still finds time to volunteer at community events such as county arts festivals and area church projects.
Maria Christian Paulino was nominated by T. DeWitt Taylor Middle-High School for the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year awards presented by the United Way’s Volunteer Center of Volusia-Flagler Counties and Bright House Networks. Because of her lifestyle of service, Maria was chosen as the Runner-Up in the Outstanding Individual Youth Category.