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A survivor of domestic violence, Maria knew her purpose was to cause radical transformation for young women and children of family violence through childcare/tutoring, mentoring, workshops or job readiness programs. In the last five years Maria has been serving in the church, community and schools as an advocate, teacher, speaker, mentor and relationship coach. She calls herself the messenger, but her big heart shows she is a caring friend who will listen to anyone who needs a “go to person”.
Currently, Maria is a 7th grade Interrelated Teacher in DeKalb School System. She developed an interest in helping special needs students after working 15 years in various positions in DeKalb and Gwinnett County. She remembers saying I wanna be that person that makes a difference in a child and his/her parent’s life, after a very dear teacher helped her son transitioned to general education classes. Maria’s passion is helping students meet their academic goals with confidence to become a life long learner. Her desire to extend more time to do one on one or small group with students inspired her to become a certified Reading Specialist and founder of Ariam’s Group, LLC which provide after school tutoring, life skill classes and test prep services.
Maria has learned how important it is to have balance and tries to spend time with her children. She knows that she can’t save them from their mistakes but she makes sure she can be there for them as a mom or a friend. Her family loves getting together to share their day or week or clown around looking at videos. But there is also a time to pray and praise God together. If someone called or texted and said they were in trouble, the family would stop what they were doing and pray together. She says, “One of the joys of knowing your family loves you is when your grandchildren can mimic how you praise God and call on His name.” She enjoys hearing her grand kids laughter and would do silly dances just to see them smile, then there are days she is teaching them how to read or write but they really love how NaNa uses her animated voice to read a story ….they would retell the story using the same voice. Also, Maria loves cooking, and watching movies with her husband of 15 years. The best time for them is the holidays when everyone is there enjoying the many personalities in one room when the ages range from 7-31 years old (her children) and 1-5 years old (grandkids). The blessing of her blended family is each one uses their family testimonies to help others and many times her children will tell people You need to talk to my mom. That’s how Maria became the “go to person.”