|Maru Del Real-Gwin|
Maru grew up in Mexico, and had some experience with the Mexican Red Cross before moving to Texas 17 years ago. After volunteering at a Dallas shelter during Hurricane Katrina, Maru decided to teach herself English to be a better advocate for clients who did not have English skills. Maru spent hours at the local library learning the language, driven to speak for those who had no voice. Since her time in Dallas, Maru has been deployed to disaster sites around the country, and has traveled to Red Cross headquarters in Washington D.C. to do the important work that takes place after initial on-site disaster responses.
Maru says she feels especially suited to care for clients who have lost everything. Her experience as a new American, with limited English skills and a fixed income, gave her a point of empathy with clients in areas affected by disaster. She talks about barely scraping by while teaching herself the language and volunteering her time to the American Red Cross. Her bilingual skills and sheer determination have allowed Maru to rise through the ranks of volunteers at the Red Cross, but in speaking with her, it becomes clear that no matter how little she’s ever had, she’s always found a way to give of herself to those in need.
"My dream is to help," she says, smilng. "That's all I want to do.”