Maya Delgado: Youth on the Rise

Maya Delgado | 12

HEARTS OF MAYA
Education: Home School

Maya Delgado is filled with a passion for the arts – it oozes out in her singsong voice and animated energy as she talks about reading a script or crooning her favorite songs.

She’s that little girl who was performing for family and friends, singing her favorite songs and acting out her favorite shows, as soon as she could walk and talk.

“Everyone has that feeling where something gets their blood rushing, and they would do anything for that; mine just happens to be music and dancing,” Maya said. “I feel like if I got the arts taken away from me, I don’t know who I would be.”

However, early in life, Maya realized that luxuries like acting classes and vocal coaches are things that are taken away from children every day.

“From a very young age, I started taking classes and would notice that some of my friends wouldn’t come back. I realized it’s because they didn’t have enough money to pay for the classes.”

Maya took her concerns to her father, a business executive, and at 9 years old learned what a nonprofit was. Later that night she did something one usually wouldn’t expect from a girl her age, she called a business meeting during a family dinner and told her mom, dad, and brother that “I know this is a problem, and it doesn’t make sense to know you can do something and not do it.”

Since creating Hearts of Maya, the Park Cities preteen has given out more than $20,000 in scholarships to youth in financial need. Maya and her ambassadors often raise the money by teaming up with local businesses like Kidbiz at Inwood Village and Swoozie’s, and Kendra Scott, both in The Plaza at Preston Center, for pop-up events, or through donations made on her website, heartsofmaya.org.

Through it all Maya said she has learned everyone is born with a passion and anyone can make a difference, “there is no excuse that you can’t make a difference because you can,” she said. Thinking back to the first time she gave a scholarship, Maya said she wasn’t able to fully grasp the impact she was making on the recipient’s life, “but after giving scholarships to 34 kids, I am very proud to say that I am making a difference.”

One recipient she fondly remembers is a young girl who had a beautiful voice with a soft tone but lacked confidence. After one semester of classes the nonprofit put her through, Maya said the same girl returned with certainty to her voice and a dynamic stage presence. Her hope for the nonprofit’s future is to grow large enough to reach children all over the country.

“I feel like the arts is more important than people make it out to be,” she said. “Creating is the most important thing, and it is the highest level of thinking you can do.”

Q: If someone made a movie of your life, what would the title be and who would play you?

A: “World Changer” because ultimately, that’s my goal. I want to change the world for the better, even if it’s one person at a time. I would love for Ana Villafane (who recently portrayed Gloria Estefan in the Broadway Musical “On Your Feet”) to play as my character because she’s of Cuban descent like me and is an amazing actress and singer.

Q: Where do you see yourself and/or your career 10 years from now?

A: In 10 years, I hope to be on TV, film, or on stage performing! More importantly, I hope that HeARTS of Maya will grow to be a national non-profit organization, awarding scholarships to youth all over the country.

Q: What was your “lightbulb moment” that lead you to your career?

A: I train weekly on becoming a better performer. It takes a lot of work, dedication, and financial resources. I noticed some of my friends were not training consistently or weren’t coming back to classes at all. I soon came to realize that it was because they didn’t have the financial resources necessary to continue training. I felt a responsibility to help in whatever way I could, so I decided to start HeARTS of Maya. It awards scholarships to deserving youth who face financial hardships but have a passion for the arts, just like I do.

Q: Which leadership skills were the most challenging for you to develop and why?

A: I’m very blessed to have parents who support my career and dreams. They help me run the organization but ultimately it’s up to me to make sure it’s successful. I’ve had to learn to conduct meetings, organize and strategize, develop agendas and learn accounting principles to run the organization.

Q: What do you love about the Park Cities or Preston Hollow community and why?

A: Park Cities and Preston Hollow are great places to live. The schools are wonderful and there isn’t a lack of activities for kids of all ages. But what I like the most is that these communities are very generous. Hearts of Maya has held most of its fundraising events in these communities. We’ve partnered with businesses such as KidBiz, Kendra Scott, and Swoozies, to name a few.

Q: What is your favorite local store?

A: This is a hard question because I love to shop! But one of my favorites is KidBiz at Inwood Village! Their clothing and accessories are amazing and stylish.

Q: Where is the best place in the Park Cities or Preston Hollow for a power lunch – what do you order?

A: I’m very health conscious and Park Cities and Preston Hollow have many healthy options. One of my favorite places is True Food. I love their Organic Tuscan Kale salad with the Inside Out Quinoa Burger.

Q: If there was ONE thing that you could change or improve in the community (please specify which one), what would it be?

A: If I could change one thing in the community, it would be to eliminate homelessness. Many times I see homeless people asking for money or food on busy corners or wandering aimlessly through the streets. I know the few dollars I give them might not make a huge difference but my hope is that as a community, we can come together to address ways to help the less fortunate.

Q: If you could buy a book (or rent a movie) for your neighbor, what would it be and why?

A: I love to read! I would recommend the book “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo. This book is wonderful for people of any age and it discusses universal themes such as hardships, loyalty, and friendship.

Q: If we looked at your social media accounts, what would we learn about you?

A: I like to post a variety of things, some silly, some serious. But overall, you’d learn that I’m an easy going person, I love what I do, and I have big dreams.

Q: If you could, what advice would you have for your teenage self and why?

A: Well, I’m almost a teenager but I’ve been told I have an old soul. The advice I would give my teenage self is to be proud of who you are because He only created one of you.

Q: What, to date, has been your most impressive or rewarding accomplishment in both your professional and personal life (you can have two answers)

A: In my professional life, I would say that my most rewarding accomplishment has been putting a smile on the faces that see me perform. That is the most rewarding feeling! In my personal life, I would say that I am very proud of creating a nonprofit at the age of 9 and seeing it grow. And I think I’ve put a smile on the face of those youth who received scholarships as well.

Bianca R. Montes

Bianca Montes is an award-winning journalist with a background in crime and government reporting and an obsession with all things culture and arts. She serves as the Managing Editor for Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, curating content for the Living Well and Faith sections, as well as producing the Fall and Spring society sections and 20 Under 40. From luncheons to galas to exhibition openings to new Dallas restaurants, you can find her out and about on Instagram @Bianca_TBD or @peoplenewspapers. You can also reach her by email at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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