Mari arrived in 1983 with four of her eight children. She is originally from Mexico City, and has lived in Little Village since her arrival. Maria started getting involved in her children's education because she knew this would motivate them to do better in school. She served as a teacher's assistant in the classroom, and helped organize fundraising events and other activities at the school. Later on, Maria got involved with Enlace and decided to join the leadership class with Yola. The program helped her to be a better leader, to set goals and to express herself. Maria is a great role model for her family, and consistently jumps at opportunities to better her community. She supported the community safety campaign that resulted in the installation of a traffic light on 27th and Pulaski. Her passion and enthusiasm for community gardening has led to her family's participation, and she is very excited to see her children and grandchildren getting involved. She consistently encourages community residents to come together and donate their time so that we can continue to see positive change in Little Village.