Maritza was born prematurely with cerebral palsy and developed lupus as a young girl. But that didn’t stop her from taking on life head on.  Which is no surprise when you meet this delightful young woman. Her enthusiasm and zest for life is infectious. She delights in conversation, relishes a good joke, and beams with amusement when she tells a story to make others laugh.

After graduating from Mills High School in 2003, Maritza started at the Abilities United Adult Day Activities program.  Despite the long commute from her family home in San Bruno, she arrives at Abilities United with enthusiasm and an effusive smile.  Each day she eagerly anticipates the activities she will participate in, including the Community Connections program where she does volunteer work at local nonprofits, learns to cook, produces videos and TV shows, makes art, and engages in community activities. “I’m learning how to manage money, shop, and be independent. I’m a part of the Community Connections TV production crew and interviewed people.  I like all my friends at Abilities United, they are very nice people and we participate in a lot of activities together”, Maritza states with her usual enthusiasm.

She also attends classes at Foothill College where she learns about other cultures from various countries such as China, Iran, and Mexico. She especially enjoys meeting new people and making friends with the other students.

Recently she has begun to learn the skills needed to live independently, including money management. She says, “I’m learning new things, improving myself, and becoming more independent. In the future, when I get married, I will use the skills I am learning now. Soon I want to get a job, hopefully as a receptionist.”

Maritza swims each year at the Aquathon; “It’s part of my life to raise money to help the students of Abilities United and make the programs better for all the students. My mother and I both swim in the Aquathon.  It’s good exercise for both of us and it is very special for me. I’m always ready for the Aquathon.  I love swimming because it makes my legs stronger and helps me be more independent.  The water makes me feel good because I can move more freely in the water.  I’m a strong lady.”  With a great attitude like that, there is no stopping Maritza from reaching her goals to be independent and help other people.

Dive in Maritza!  We look forward to cheering you on in your honorary swim!

Learn more about the Abilities United Aquathon and Maritza’s honorary swim!