Say Hello to Mary Pereira!
Although Mary only recently became a Project Coordinator with Jersey Cares in May, she has been an active volunteer since 2017! Throughout the years, Mary has been involved in a variety of volunteer opportunities such as Lights On in Newark, Games Galore and More in Hanover, and Conversations and Connections in Elizabeth. When asked why she chose to participate in these opportunities with Jersey Cares, Mary responded:
“I really enjoy it! Although volunteering with seniors (Games Galore and More in Hanover) is not something that I ever saw myself doing, I really enjoyed it and think it’s a great experience. Not only the volunteer realm of it, but the one on one experience from people of different generations and areas really is a great opportunity to be able to expand younger minds. I am happy to be a part of the experience. Additionally, the Care of the Park opportunity is the one I’m excited to work with. It’s not your typical volunteer experience so I am looking forward to being a part of this experience.”
As a new Project Coordinator, we wanted to know what advice Mary would offer to those interested in participating. Mary discussed feeling extremely nervous during her first volunteer opportunity, however once she dove in, she realized she overthought everything way too much. She went on to advise,
“We are all here for the same reason. Regardless of where we are from – we are all here to help our community. Be sure to TALK! You’ll learn a lot from a stranger who is doing the same thing you’re doing. Even more so than you will learn from your friends. These experiences will shape you into the person you want to become. Being in my early 20’s, volunteering has truly changed the way I view people, situations, government, politics, and so much more. It has shaped me into who I am. Volunteering even one time can really change how you see and view both yourself and your surroundings”
Since beginning her volunteer journey with Jersey Cares in 2017, we asked Mary what her favorite part of volunteering was where she emphasized,
“I’m currently a psych major and everything that happens to me and with every conversation that I have, I always look back and try to realize how that has shaped me. I view everything in a psychological way and one of the things that makes me happy to do this is that we all go through things, sometimes bad situations, and we wish someone can help us. We tend to forget that other people are struggling, so why not go out there and give back? Take one day out of the month to volunteer. We all go through some situation where you want someone there to help you so if that’s the case, be there for someone else. If I am in an okay situation, why wouldn’t I want to help the next person? A five minute conversation with someone can truly make someone’s day.”
Outside of volunteering with Jersey Cares, Mary’s days are constantly busy. She is a full time student, works part time, attends kickboxing on a weekly basis, loves to read, enjoys the great outdoors, and helps take care of her three nieces and nephews.
Join Mary in becoming a Jersey Cares volunteer leader through our Project Coordinator program.