Natalie Diaz

Health and Wellness Coordinator

Why Miami Children’s Initiative?

After spending the last year as a Public Ally Americorps Member, I felt compelled to be a part of efforts to revitalize neighborhoods often overlooked in Miami. I’ve learned to see communities for what they have to offer rather than what they lack, and Miami Children’s Initiative embodies this approach. Being a part of the MCI team has given me the wonderful opportunity to empower families in Liberty City to create real change in the neighborhood.

What’s the best part of your work?

I’ve found the best part of my work to be the small victories. Sometimes all it takes to make my day is a hug from a grateful resident, or a child who is excited to see me. It’s those small moments that remind me how important our work is, and  that we truly are making a difference in people’s lives.

What’s your most memorable MCI experience?

As the Health and Wellness Coordinator, I have the privilege of overseeing the monthly Liberty City Fresh Food Co-Op. I am always advocating the event to our residents to encourage their participation. One month I had a resident come up to me with her money for the Food Co-Op a few weeks ahead of time. She told me she wanted to give me the money now so she didn’t spend it on anything else. She wanted to make sure she was able to provide her family with fresh fruits and vegetables. That was a pretty magical moment for me.

How has MCI impacted your life?   

MCI will forever be a turning point in my life. Being a part of this family has inspired within me the need to advocate for others. When I spend time with the children in the neighborhood, they feel like my children. When I interact with residents, it’s like I’m hanging out with my closest friends. MCI has taught me that while some things aren’t easy, they might be damn near impossible, that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth fighting for. In fact, they’re most often the things we should fight for the hardest.

Please name your favorite childhood character real or imaginary.

My favorite childhood character was Madeline. I loved that she was different and spunky. She was always fearless and spoke her mind, and I deeply admired that. I wanted to be just like her.

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