• Emily Hendrickson

Inspired and Empowered: Mariela's Story

Mariela grew up in Siler City, just a quick 20 minute drive from the Chatham Habitat for Humanity office. “Growing up in a Latino home, it was noisy and filled with siblings fighting over the tv, the phone ringing, and my mom cooking away in the kitchen.” Home to Mariela means being around the people that she loves and cares about. She talks about how home reminds her of family, and how that family extends beyond just blood relation and extends to family friends who become aunts or uncles.


Mariela Soloranzo

Growing up, Mariela always wanted to be outside with her dad and uncle but felt she couldn’t because “it was for the man to do.” “I was told that I couldn’t do a lot of things because of me being a woman, but my mom, who is an inspiration, encouraged me to be independent and to get a degree. She even once encouraged me to take a mechanic class, which I never took because I was nervous about being the only girl in class. “


Being a woman is a unique experience and Mariela speaks about how a “woman is someone who is strong, independent, and capable of doing things that society may not give us credit for.” One of her other inspirations is Malala Yousafzai, who as a young girl stood up for girls’ education in Pakistan, even though that meant becoming a target of the Taliban.


Mariela continues to be inspired and empowered by women in her life, especially those whom she gets to work with in her role as Family Selection Coordinator. “I’ve seen a lot more single women and I am so empowered seeing these women applying and seeking this dream for them and their families.” She will continue to #BuildHer and make a difference throughout the year by assisting individuals and families accomplish their dream of homeownership. Mariela believes that everyone deserves a decent place to live and she will continue to work hard to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity of homeownership through Habitat and other community resources.


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