Maria Clara Tanner: Presentations of Impact 2020

Maria Clara Tanner: Presentations of Impact 2020

I never imagined that leaving my homeland and starting a new life in another country was going to be easy. For an immigrant like me, starting a new life, in a new country and in a new culture with a new language is always hard. However, I have always believed that no matter where you are in the world, you are capable of doing exceptional deeds without limitations. Regardless of where we are, we can achieve greatness. With that, I knew there would be no barrier too strong to prevent me from where I wanted to go: down the path that makes me feel alive.

I am Maria Clara Tanner, but most of my friends call me Clary. I am from Colombia, which is a multicultural country located in South America. It is a place that I always have called, and will always call home. I am passionate about politics, art, and music, with my biggest passion revolving around my ability to help others. I am currently placed at Cancer Support Community Arizona (CSCAZ), which is a non-profit organization that provides social and emotional support to people impacted by cancer, so that no one faces cancer alone. I am the Program Impact Officer and if you were to ask me what I do there, I would probably tell you I try to do a little bit of everything, because I am always eager to learn and leave a positive mark wherever I am. And with experience I have learned that wherever you look, there are always opportunities to help. Eventually, if you keep looking, you will find a way to do what is right, and your impact will echo across the world.

I have always considered myself to be a passionate person, someone who does what she does because she feels connections to others and humanitarian efforts. This is because I am a person who loves doing, simply because my heart tells me to do so. In 2019, while I was applying to get a job in the U.S I was feeling lost while I didn’t have one. After so many talks with my grandma, asking her for advice, she reminded me of something that I learned many years ago while studying at a catholic school. There is no greater action than asking God to be an instrument of His love on this earth. Even though I tried to find things that helped me to follow that path, such as helping and serving others, there were many disappointments, losses of hope, and opportunities that resulted in rejection. But I waited, I was patient and I got something that I have called a gift from the beyond: Public Allies.

Public Allies has been the gift that makes me feel part of a community that allows me to be involved in something that not only impacts the lives of others, but also offers an opportunity to grow professional and spiritually. This experience has helped me realize that we should all make efforts to help others, and we never know who will end up helping us in return along the way. I have had my eyes opened to a community that not only helps those in need, but truly helps anyone involved in the program. The leaders and overall network develop all participants in a way that helps not only the community, but also the futures of all.

If there is something to be grateful for, it is that this experience has given me multiple learning opportunities. Prior to Public Allies, I thought success was about being recognized and the stature of one’s position in a non-profit. This has since changed Each day that passes, one falls in love with leaving a mark, that is to be successful, no matter how big or small it is. I have become a person who believes in what I do, and I don't let my mind stop. Previously, I used to have thousands of ideas in my head, but I stopped executing them because I thought they were not good enough. I was wrong again. I learned that it is important to know our mind and let it speak for us, because we cannot imagine the surprises they bring us. We can do anything we set our minds too. Together we are strong. I found my self working on things I never imagined I could work on. I created projects that could benefit my organization, created curate content for social media for Public Allies and my placement organization, but most importantly I let myself be guided to create and inspire.

Not only do we learn from the experience itself, but from the people involved, too. I have met wonderful individuals who have motivated me to continue dreaming, to trust myself, and above all, they have taught me how to professionally value my talents. I will always be grateful to my colleagues from CSCAZ who since day one made me feel welcomed, and from all the beautiful moments and lessons learned. Thank you to the magnificent cohort, to my Team Service Project (TSP) group members, who are now my friends, and to the staff members of Public Allies, for allowing me to share my talents. For allowing me to create, dream, and above all for teaching me the true meaning of everybody leads.

We cannot know which decisions will significantly impact our lives. In fact, the actions we take in the moment may sculpt our lives the most. When I accepted this opportunity, I was thrilled and expected this to change my future. I did not expect this position to fundamentally solidify who I am, what I want, and where I need to go, so rapidly and so directly. I know now why I am here. I know that I am exactly where I need to be, I have reclaimed my mission, adjusted my destination, and thanks to Public Allies, my life has forever been changed. I now have a new sense of capability and determination. That is exactly what I need to succeed. And that is exactly what I have and will continue to gain here.