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Young People Making a Difference in Homestead

Young People Making a Difference in Homestead

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A Homestead family service worker hopes to make a difference in the lives of area residents through a new service organization for young adults. Mayra Padilla (29), a family worker with Le Jardin Community Centers in Homestead, says the group, called Rotaract of Homestead, hopes to bridge the gap between the natural inclination of young people to serve and the real needs of people in our community. Rotaract is Homestead’s first community-based service club and networking organization established by and for young adults (18-35).

Padilla led a group of young adults from South Miami Dade County to form Rotaract, a Rotary International-sanctioned organization that brings young people together to engage in community service and develop professional and social skills that will serve them in life.

Born in Mexico and raised in Homestead, Padilla was the driving force behind organizing the group. She has served low-income children and families in the area for the past ten years as an early education teacher and family worker. She has seen the needs, big and small, up close. She says she was motivated to do something to aid parents and others who need a little help to achieve big personal goals because she has seen too many people whose lives could be changed with just a small amount of money.

“For example,” Padilla said, “I recently met a young mother who was desperate to go to work. She had an opportunity but, due to transportation issues, couldn’t take it. That job could have set her life in a whole new direction.”
Padilla said this young lady was asking for assistance to get a bus pass but didn’t qualify for the programs that provide this service.

“Less than $60 could have changed this family’s life,” Padilla added. “I see this all the time.  One person needs $160 to take a GED Test, another less than $300 to take a class at Miami Dade College to become a teacher’s assistant, and another, just $25 to get a State of Florida ID card to get a job.”

Padilla heard of the Homestead Rotary Club’s College Scholarships and wondered if they could help members of our community who aren’t necessarily going to college. She met with leaders of Rotary and learned of its goals and activities, as well as Rotaract, its arm for young adults.

“We can do this,” she said. “We can bring Rotaract to Homestead and do something life-changing for people. I spoke with some friends and realized a lot of people my age have a passion to help those in need, they just don’t know where to start. I believe Rotaract can become that place. We can become a resource for the social service community for volunteers and eventually offer our own scholarships to help pay for low-cost items that could have a huge impact in a person’s life.”

Padilla was elected the club’s first president by its 21 Charter Members. Other members of the board of directors are Vice President Julie Fontaine (27) a nurse in Miami; Treasurer Analleli Gallegos (29) an FIU finance major; and Secretary Maribel Corona (20), who is working towards a bachelor’s in management and supervision at Miami-Dade College.

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The club’s charter members, ranging in age from 19 to 31 are Dani Blanquicett, Nely Calderon, Alondra Capote, Karla Collazo, Maribel Corona, Elizabeth Cruz, Antonia Cruz, Julie Fontaine, Analleli Gallegos, Erika Garcia, Roxana Guevara, Isamar Jimenez, Karen Leon, Gabriela Leyva-Delatorre, Elizabeth Morales, Joe Morales, Stephanie Morales, Mayra Padilla, Maria Rangel, Amanda Rivera and Sally Valentin.

For information about Rotaract of Homestead, email

Haz clic para leer en EspañolUn grupo de jóvenes Voluntarios están haciendo la diferencia en Homestead

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