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Name: Mariyah Cecil
Family: Mother and father, Melissa and Justin; sister, Anndreena.
Occupation: Fifth-grade student at Paragon Collegiate Academy in Marysville.
How long have you lived in the Yuba-Sutter area? My whole life with my parents. My dad was born in Japan, but was brought over here with his parents who were in the Air Force.
Hobbies, interests: I like singing, drawing and doodling. I have a special notebook that I draw in. And I like playing with my sister.
For what groups do you volunteer? I am in the Paragon Club at my school. Every Thursday, after school, we sit down and vote on what we want to do that day. Sometimes we make cards for a care home and take them to senior citizens, make treats for firemen and police officers. Right now, we are making window sun catchers.
We had a "costume" drive at Halloween for kids who didn't have a costume; for the Salvation Army Depot, we did a coat and clothes drive; put together bags for the homeless — we got travel sized shampoo and toiletries and we put them in with cards. I hope it gave them a sense of joy.
Also, we wrote letters to soldiers; we made Easter baskets for local families; donated to a basket for a staff member who made a Thanksgiving feast; did a canned food drive.
The Paragon Club is for whoever wants to give back to the community and help people.
What was your favorite project? When we made treats, like trail mix, chocolate-covered Oreos and Rice Krispy treats for the firefighters and police. It was neat seeing the smile on their faces.
How do you fit volunteering into your schedule? It is really a lot, but I make sure I'm not getting in way over my head. And my mom and family help me make sure I can do it.
Words of advice: If you're not involved, you are kinda missing out on the experience of helping people. It warms your heart and can brighten your spirit.
Why be a volunteer? When I first got (to the Paragon Club), we were actually getting stuff done — field trips and making projects. I'm not just sitting in the classroom talking, "Oh we can clean up the park."
I would just tell people that they really should (volunteer) because it truly is a lot of fun. I would highly recommend any sort of volunteer work.
Quote: "There is a whole world out there that you could be helping. If you're just sitting there, you are a couch potato."