Get to know Maria Morales: CAC Family Advocate

What is your position at the CAC? Explain.

As a Family Advocate at the CAC, I walk alongside families as they navigate the trauma of abuse and the steps of criminal cases. Through individualized attention and building rapport with each family, I assess their needs, make recommendations and advocate on their behalf for services from our multi-disciplinary team or other community agencies. With families whose cases must go through criminal proceedings, I am the family’s go-to, am an email or phone call away, answering any questions or concerns that arise as well as their support system by accompanying them in any scheduled court appearances. 

What led you to work at the CAC?

From a young age, I knew I wanted to be in a career that directly impacted, advocated, and most importantly was centered around serving others. But, it was through the COVID pandemic, when teleworking became the new normal and the absence of not directly working with people that I knew I should be doing more by directly working in our community. Simultaneously, I came across an opportunity at the CAC and through some research learned about the center’s remarkable commitment to helping children and their families and the ongoing work of the center despite the reality of a pandemic. It was uplifting and inspirational to know the CAC remained open and most importantly that they recognized the need of having services available to children and their families. It was then, that I knew I had to pursue the opportunity and was hopeful that my heart and eagerness to make a difference would be visible to the team. 

Tell us about someone who has influenced your decision to work at the CAC or a mentor that has helped your career. 

The biggest influence in my career has been my mother. Throughout my childhood, I witnessed her generosity and selflessness towards friends, family, and strangers she crossed paths with. Because of her, I have always known that giving back and helping others is not a limitation of being able to, because if there is a will, there is always a way to help people who are less fortunate or having greater problems than you are. Her resilience and determination to overcome what life throws her way have always encouraged me to keep pushing forward as failure is not an option!

How do you enjoy spending your time when you are not working? 

When I am not working, I like to unplug and spend time with my husband, mother, and 20month old son. I enjoy having friends over, having great conversations, and laughing at the stories of our day-to-day lives. When scheduling allows, I enjoy traveling to San Diego, CA to visit my in-laws and spending a couple of days by the ocean on the beaches of Baja California, MX. But being honest, there is no greater free time, than that spent cuddling, and getting kisses from my baby boy!

What is the one thing you are most proud of about your job? 

In my role as Family Advocate, I am most proud of the opportunity I have to break down language and cultural barriers with Hispanic families that come into our center. Knowing that I’ve had a direct impact on positively transitioning families from feeling hesitant and fearful to trusting and engaging with myself, the team, and the services at the center are the proudest moments of my job.

Favorite Quote?

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” -Maya Angelou

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