Maria was born to a loving mom and dad and grew up in Mesa. Her dad was in the military and her mom made home life nice. Tragically, her dad died in active duty and Maria's young mother went into a downward spiral, ending in drugs and homelessness. Maria recalls many days of coming home from school at age 10 and seeing her mother huddled under the table, with bent spoons scattered all over. She said she remembers hearing the word heroin, but never knew what it meant. She only knew that it was wrecking her mom's life.
As hard as it is to imagine, at age 11 Maria received a juvenile felony charge for breaking into a home with her sister to steal food. She says she grabbed graham crackers and chocolate milk. The two were taken into custody and then put into the juvenile and subsequently the foster system, a system Maria ran away from and battled all through her teen years.
After a series of further tragic events she ended up in a crisis pregnancy situation, when she was finally rescued and now calls The Rescue Project at the Phoenix Dream Center her home.
She has been with us for nearly 8 months now and has exceeded all of her program requirements. She is expecting a baby girl in March, and plans to name her Esther. Mother and daughter will be two of the initial privileged dynamic duos to live in the amazing new Dream Rooms that are created for girls like her.
Maria is one of our first candidates who will receive a full tuition and housing scholarship to Grand Canyon University after she graduates from The Rescue Project later this year. She plans on enrolling in the Nursing program. GCU has just recently partnered with The Rescue Project to help these girls with scholarships so they can complete a first class education once they have completed their healing and restoration at the Phoenix Dream Center.