Young & Giving

Zaneta Encarnacion

Fri July 25, 2014 10:31am

Junior Community Hero, Maria Mikayla Boccia

In my role as director of the Chula Vista Charitable Foundation, I meet some amazing Chula Vista residents. I’ve written about several of them in this monthly spotlight article. They have been a collection of incredible adults who give sacrificially and are what I consider community heroes. This month I want to introduce you readers to my very first Junior Community Hero, Maria Mikayla Boccia.  At 14 years old, Boccia’s community volunteerism and heart for service is astounding.
A member of Girl Scout Troop 5273 since kindergarten, she has been involved in numerous community service projects. She has given her gift of time to support children and teens with special needs by volunteering for two years as a buddy for the Challenger League and as a host for the Night to Remember Prom. She has given her gift of treasure by purchasing school supplies and toys for preschool students who have lived in homes with domestic violence. She has also participated in Cans for Critters to help raise funds for endangered animals. And every year, thousands of Susan G. Komen 3-Day walkers experience her gift of talent as she dresses in pink, passes out stickers and speaks words of thanks to encourage the participants onward.
Nearly two and a half years ago, Boccia became involved with what has become her favorite personal passion. Boccia and her Girl Scout troop volunteered with an organization called Hunger2Help (www.hunger2help.org) started by the original “Burrito Boyz.” Boccia and Troop 5273 quickly became known as the “Burrito Babes.” Two Sundays a month, the girls crawl out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to wrap over 400 breakfast burritos and distribute them to the homeless downtown. Boccia enjoys this act of service so much that she arranges rides the other two Sundays of the month in an effort to be involved every Sunday. After the first year of serving, Boccia was nominated most valuable Burrito Babe and has recently been asked to join the original Burrito Boyz as a member of the board of directors for Hunger2Help. 
 “My biggest influence on the homeless community is not just giving them a warm meal, the Burrito Babes and I give the homeless something to look forward to, someone to talk to, and love that they don’t often get to experience. I feel very proud that the Burrito Babes and I serve the homeless and that a group of 14- to 17-year-olds are able to make a difference in over 600 lives.”
Maria lives at home with her dad Guy, mom (and Girl Scout leader) Gina, younger sister Delaney and Kitter Pie the cat.
Zaneta Encarnacion is director of the Chula Vista Charitable Foundation.