Laura Mixtacki

  • Laura Mixtacki

$2500 Spirit of Love College Scholarship

Service to others is a both a responsibility and a privilege. I believe that each of us has a duty to make the world a better place using our unique God-given gifts and talents. Although I volunteer for various non-profit organizations, my involvement with Metrocrest Social Services gave me a deeper and more personal commitment to servitude. Here I work one-on-one with individuals in my immediate community to help create positive change in their lives. Metrocrest Social Services is one of my favorite programs because we not only assist the needy with material goods, but we also offer services to help families get back on their feet, through job search training and short-term emergency assistance.
The Metrocrest Holiday Store Program pre-screens disadvantaged families in the community to determine their needs, assigning them “points” to exchange for clothes, toys, food, and Christmas gifts of their choice. As a volunteer for the past four years, I greet parents who applied and were accepted for assistance, and I guide them through the Holiday Store of donated items with a shopping cart, helping them to select items and spend their points as they decide. I use my communication and leadership skills to assist these families in both Spanish and English.

I’ll never forget Maria, one of the first women I helped through this program. She was the recently unemployed mother of four young children. She looked nervous when I smiled and called her name, then seemed relieved that I spoke some Spanish. As we moved through the store, she carefully selected clothes and toys for each of her children. She described her children to me, and smiled as she held up a doll, a basketball, or a game, anticipating the joy it would bring on Christmas morning. When we finished loading the boxes of food in her cart, I felt like we were friends. Although she chose nothing for herself, Maria was excited and happy. Her warm, generous, and loving spirit inspired me. She put everyone in her family before herself, thoughtfully choosing each gift, grateful for the opportunity to help make their Christmas special. As we wished each other Feliz Navidad, I realized that Maria had helped me as much as I helped her. She set an inspiring example for me, as a woman who remained cheerful and positive in the face of adversity, and she put the needs of others before her own.

Every year I am excited to return to volunteer with Metrocrest and do my part to help others like Maria. I learned to serve others in a positive way, with friendliness and respect. I gained empathy and respect for those in need, and the understanding that a job loss or physical injury can cause a devastating financial blow to a family. These families still want to do their best to provide for their children and give them a happy Christmas. I return year after year to continue to serve others and help them achieve this goal.