Maria H. – Hope Drove Her to Succeed Posted on May 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm. Maria H. can describe her experience at Baltimore’s Board of Child Care with just one word. Hope. BORN A SURVIVOR To understand Maria’s journey, you first have to acknowledge her reality. After spending her first nine years with biological parents, she spent the next five years of her life in a large orphanage in Siberia. After her two sisters were adopted in 1998, a Maryland family from Baltimore County adopted Maria in 2001. A survivor of a throwaway culture, however, her struggles would continue for some time. Maria spoke little English and, almost immediately, found difficulty adjusting to her new life with her adopted family. “I moved in with a foster care family temporarily. My adoptive parents wouldn’t take me back in, so I was transferred to foster care permanently and that’s how I arrived at BCC,” Maria said. “I was young, emotional, and not very happy,” Maria admits. “I was upset.” ART BECAME AN OUTLET Maria turned to art as an outlet to cope with her new reality. “I’m crafty; I like to make things,” said Maria, who continued to take classes at the nearby Staub art school in Catonsville, MD while living on the Baltimore campus. “Art became a way to deal with my problems and emotions in a positive way,” she says. “It kept my mind busy. Instead of thinking about the sad things in my life, I turned my feelings to art and that made me feel good about myself.” FOCUSED ON THE FUTURE Realizing she had to finish high school if she wanted to succeed, earning her diploma became Maria’s main goal in her late teens. “An education meant that I would have a future, that it would lead me to be successful,” she says. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school, but I knew I needed to finish.” While completing high school, Maria took a job at Crown Trophy in Owings Mills. After graduation, she went to school to become a dental assistant through a program offered at Howard Community College. The license took six months to acquire; she started working in the field shortly after. “Maria always knew what she needed to do, and she set her sights on being independent and following through on her goals,” says Nicole Smith, BCC’s Vice-President of Residential Services, who worked with Maria during her time at BCC. “Once she had her skill set in place, we could all see she was going to flourish.” LIFE TODAY 10 years have passed since Maria graduated from high school, moved away from BCC and launched her career as a dental assistant. Now married, she is advancing her career through BCC’s alumni grant program, going back to school to become a licensed dental hygienist. Perhaps most importantly, Maria looks forward to starting a family of her own one day. “We don’t have kids yet, but we definitely want them,” Maria said. “We’re waiting for the right time to begin our family.” The ability to circle a goal, chart a path to achieve it and execute the plan is something she credits Board of Child Care for teaching her, and she plans to fully utilize the skill. “The program’s helped me to set goals when I needed them the most,” Maria said. “I wouldn’t have achieved this life without BCC.” This article originally appeared in BCC’s 2015 Annual Report (click to view all annual reports). Did You Know? Thanks to its donors, Board of Child Care funded $21,702 in continuing education for its alumni in FY 2015!