Video story brought to you by SVdP Community Outreach Officer Bruce Cooper.
Softball practice at 5:30 a.m. School at 7:45 a.m. More softball practice or games after school, followed by an evening of study and homework.
It seems Isabella Macias, 18, didn't have a minute to spare in her busy senior year at Seton Catholic Preparatory in Chandler, Arizona. On top of softball, her extracurriculars included volleyball, soccer, basketball, cross country and…volunteering. Isabella, who graduated this past week, always found time to serve at St. Vincent de Paul.
On the weekends, Isabella prepared food boxes at SVdP’s neighborhood pantry located at Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mesa, where she and her family attend mass.
“I just like helping out people because it makes me feel closer to God,” Isabella said. “I’m doing his will. I love the community, and I love being able to see the people we’re helping.”
The SVdP pantry offers food and bill assistance to families in need in the surrounding neighborhood through home visits conducted by parish-based volunteers (or Vincentians), like Horacio Macias, Isabella’s father. It’s thanks to him that Isabella first started volunteering in the pantry as a young girl, tagging along with her dad to do community work.
“I love him,” said Isabella, adding that she considers him her biggest supporter. “He has really done everything for me. He’s put me through private school all my life and sacrificed so much for me.”
As Isabella prepared to walk across the Seton stage in her cap and gown last week and receive her high school diploma, it was with much anticipation and excitement from her dad. He has been the family rock since Isabella lost her mother to cancer. Isabella was only seven years old at the time.
“I know she’s still with me,” she said. “I wrote on my arm the date she passed away. I’m not sad because I know she will be walking alongside of me.”
This fall, Isabella is set to attend Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. She’s majoring in environmental engineering and joining the Air Force ROTC program. But before that, Isabella intends to squeeze in another summer of volunteering at the SVdP pantry in which she’s grown up.
“Being around people at SVdP and being around people at Seton, really helps me to see that what I do has its effects on others,” Isabella said. “And I just want to allow God to shine through me and just to do my part.”