Meet Mariah Vargas: JEVS Human Services’ 2017 Strictly Business “Inspiration Award” Honoree

By | August 30, 2019

– My name’s Mariah Vargas
and I’m 21 years old. I have a lot of goals
that I plan to achieve and I just feel like I’m gonna
show everybody up (laughs). I grew up in the Northeast. Growing up for me was
a lot of moving. We were here and then
Florida and then here and then Florida
and then back here. So I think I probably moved
like 30 times. (laughs) The reason for all the moving
was my Dad had been an addict
his whole life. I get, sorry, I always
cry when I talk about him.His family was down there
so to keep him sober we would move there and then it wouldn’t
even work so we’d come back here. My Mom was in love, she
didn’t wanna give up on him. She thought he was
going to get better, so…. – [Narrator] The constant
moving and unstable family life led to a strong bond between Mariah and
her sisters. A bond forged out of
love and self-protection. – [Mariah] Part of coping
with everything was pretty much just my sisters. (laughs) We just like had each
other’s backs and stuff. So like when he would
come home like high and stuff and my Mom would
be like crying. Then I felt like I was
responsible for making sure my little sisters
didn’t see. So I would like take them
to their room and stuff like that. And just check on my Mom… and make sure she’s okay. Yeah that’s not
something a kid should feel responsible for. A lot of the stuff that
was going on made it always seem like there was
so much stress on me at a young age. – [Narrator] The stresses
of Mariah’s family life and constant moving eventually
took a toll on her and her education. After years in and out of
unaccommodating public schools and Catholic schools
her family couldn’t afford, Mariah eventually stopped
attending school altogether. – [Mariah] The instability
like made things different than what they
would’ve been if it was just stable. Like I see the difference
like between me and other people like how
we’ve grown up. I couldn’t really like
just have like a straight path. It was like all these turns. So that kinda made it difficult. But then I found JEVS so…. (laughs) (uplifting music) Finding
JEVS was probably one of the
greatest things (laughs) that happened to me. It just kind of like
turned everything around for me
like completely. Like I had the
support I needed. On Project WOW
I learned property maintenance and repairs. Getting my GED was
my main priority when I came to
Project WOW. Mrs. Denise is so great. Like if you’re struggling
with something you can go to her and like
she’ll go over it with you. It was a blessing
being in her class, really. (laughs) ’cause she pretty much
got me through my tests. The graduation ceremony
for Project WOW I was bawling my eyes out in the car the
whole way home. I could not stop crying. It was a relief to
accomplish that for me because like I feel I
was trying for it for so long and I wanted it
for so long and I was proud of myself. And I owe it to JEVS… (laughs) – [Narrator] Graduating from
Project WOW gave Mariah the start she needed to
move forward on a path to success. She’s working at
Kramer Insurance Center, and pursuing her next
educational goal, a college degree. – [Mariah] I’m excited
for school. I am majoring in psychology. I’m really interested in it. And I think that maybe
one day I might get into that field, like counseling
for like addiction families, things like that. That might be a
career goal for me in the far future. Sometimes I forget what
I’ve been through, ’cause I don’t talk
about it much. Before I came to Project
WOW I was probably unsatisfied with myself. Like I didn’t have a lot of
hope for my future, like I wasn’t really sure
where I was going. I’m definitely in a place
right now where I feel stable. I think that my future
is bright. Getting the Inspiration
Award makes me feel like I’m doing something right. And that my sisters can
look up to me for it.

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