East Boston native Maria Perez volunteers with ABCD's food access centers and assisted with YEA! -- ABCD’s two week summer civic engagement program for 13 year olds. She said that ABCD ‘s mission to lift people up is why she volunteers. “It’s not just the help they have given me that is of interest, but what they stand for as well.”
Maria’s most memorable moment is being able to participate in the YEA! program alongside her daughter Ashly, who has a disability. “During the program, we learned about issues like immigration, civic engagement, and mental health, which are important to me and my family, she said. “ABCD made us feel like part of their family and never made us feel uneasy. Their inclusivity and warmth will always be appreciated.”
Maria encourages others to volunteer at ABCD. “When you need help, you seek it out, and once you achieve your goals, you extend your hand to assist others,” she said.
Of being nominated as a Community Hero, Maria says, “I can hardly believe it! I shared the news with my children, and they're thrilled for me. It makes me so proud to see their happiness and pride in me.”