Maria Machua Maria Machuca Maria’s parents came to the U.S. from the state of Nayarit in Mexico to work in the fields. She was born in the U.S. and grew up on a date farm just south of the town of Mecca, CA. She received a Bachelors in Social Science and a Masters in Public Administration from California State University, San Bernardino, she then returned to the valley. She is one of the many young people who have gone away to college and then returned to serve their community. Maria is as an employee of Riverside County and a member of the Mecca Community Council, a volunteer position she has held for almost thirteen years. Through her work with both of these organizations she has helped bring resources, services and infrastructure to the town of Mecca and to the farmworker community, both migrant and permanent, that live in the area. Ten years ago her office was in a trailer out of which they provided a few services, now they have complex of buildings which include a library, a Boys and Girls Club and the Family and Farm Workers Services building from which they provide services to over two thousand people a month at no cost. She helps coordinate over twenty five public and non-profit agencies that provide services such as english classes, parenting classes, community mediation, drug abuse counseling, assistance with the immigration process and education about civil rights. She credits people working before her in the community as people with vision and sees herself as part of that continuum. She is loving and protective of her community and tries to balance progress with tradition. Her experience has taught her that through a process of building relationships with people that are different than you things get accomplished. “If you do the work, change happens”. She does the work, day after day, year after year. Seeing the positive change in her community nurtures her and gives her energy. She bought her own home in Mecca in 2010.