My Special Connection to Mary's Center

Mary’s Center is proud to be a Center of Excellence for youth development, helping young people like Diana Espinoza realize their potential and build better futures for themselves and their families. Diana, a recent graduate of our Teen Program, explains how Mary's Center has supported her and her family. 

My family and I came to the United States from Ecuador when I was three years old. When we moved to Washington, D.C it was very difficult for my family to adjust to a new way of life. Everything was so different: the people, the food, the language, and the culture. My mom started looking for help so that we would have more opportunities. Fortunately, she found Mary’s Center.

We all became patients of Mary’s Center, and participants in the WIC program, and we also got help from Briya, Mary’s Center’s education partner. Through Briya, my mom, my brother and I started learning English. But the help didn’t stop there. My mom was able to get a job with the Mary’s Center WIC team a few years later and still works here to this day.


(Above: Diana with a teacher at Briya, where she started learning English)


When I was 13 years old and about to start high school, I joined Mary’s Center’s After School Program, popularly known as the Teen Program, along with my brother.  That year, I earned 100 community service hours by participating in Teen Program activities. The program wasn’t just a place where I went to do homework. It was a place where I was empowered with information about getting ready for college, healthy relationships and other useful topics. It was also a place where I got a lot of support from the staff. They would always help me with whatever I needed and were open to talking about anything. When I finished my freshman year of high school, I was very happy that I had received so much support and that my first year had gone so well.  I continued to participate in the Teen Program every year after that.

During the summers I was able to get internships at Mary’s Center, in the Human Resources department and at Briya. I was excited to get a behind-the scenes look at how Mary’s Center worked and to give back to the organization that gave so much to my family. 

This summer, I am interning in the Communications department. I fell in love with the field during a Mass Media and Communications class I took during my Junior and Senior year. I recently graduated high school with honors, something I couldn’t have done without all the help and support that I got from Mary’s Center. In the fall I will be attending Marymount University and will major in Communications. So this internship is perfect for me! I am having a wonderful experience and am glad to be contributing through the short videos I am making to showcase Mary’s Center’s work. Thank you to everyone at Mary’s Center for supporting and nurturing me and helping me make my dreams come true.

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