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Mary Takes a Swim with the Dolphins

Ever since Mary saw the dolphin Flipper on TV as a child, she has been intrigued by dolphins. Mary said dolphins’ “perpetual smiles and complex aquatic maneuvers” remind her of her time in high school when she participated in synchronized swimming. Mary spent part of her life growing up in California, where she learned to body surf. Mary’s love for water and dolphins has only grown with her, which is why Mary dreamed of swimming with dolphins.

Mary has dedicated her life giving back to others. Mary led the founding of and volunteered at two non-profits many years ago. One of the organizations was named Fish, which provided transportation for people who needed help getting to and from medical appointments. The other non-profit organization was called Response Ministries, which was a psychotherapy for low-income individuals who identified as Christian but couldn’t participate in church activities due to mental issues—this basically served as a safe haven for those who felt as though they did not fit in with society. Even though neither non-profit is still in existence today, both had a positive impact on many lives. More recently, Mary volunteered in the Foster Grandparenting Program for Volunteers of America, where she helped kids excel in their schoolwork. Currently, Mary volunteers her time to her community by serving on the Safety Committee and leading a Bible study.

Aside from volunteering, Mary had a fond passion for teaching. She took a teaching job in New Mexico when she was 48 years old. Sadly, the teacher whose job she was taking over had a heart attack, which called for an immediate replacement. After she made the move, the school board decided not to replace the teacher, but only to disperse the students to other classes. Without a job, Mary was forced to find work in order to support herself. She moved to Colorado, where within one week had five part-time jobs at the Trinidad State Junior College teaching biology, sign language and literacy. Though these part-time jobs only totaled 20-30 hours a week, it still was enough for Mary to pay rent and buy groceries. The school did not rehire Mary the next year because she did not have a Master’s degree, so with that, she moved the Pueblo and enrolled in a master’s program. Over time, she taught adult basic education and served as a home hospital tutor. With having part-time jobs all of her life, she never had the chance to save up, which put her in a tough financial situation throughout her years.

Though Mary found it hard to get hired as an employee throughout her life, she is recently making the most of it by trying to create work as a business consultant. Mary hopes that her writing skills will help her serve as a marketer and copywriter, as well as offer other support services to entrepreneurs. She explained how enlivening it is to have an income that will allow her to visit her children and friends in other states, as well as bypass the stress she has always felt over every purchased postage stamp. Through the struggles in her life, Mary is excited to start this new chapter with all of these new improvements.

On April 23, 2016, Wish of a Lifetime sent Mary with her cousin, Lloyd, to Discovery Cove in Orlando to interact and swim with dolphins. Mary was thrilled to share the experience with Lloyd, who has a passion for sea creatures as well. Mary said the experience was very “luxurious.” Her favorite part was the dolphin swim experience. Mary got to feed, pet and kiss the dolphins! She also got to ride with one of the dolphins named Leonard. Mary said “I thought Leonard was going to leave me in the dust because he was so fast!” She and Lloyd not only loved swimming with dolphins, but also enjoyed a private cabana full of tropical flowers. Mary said this wish was beyond her expectations.

“The only thing that could have made the day better is if it could have lasted longer. It was the most fun I remember ever having all in one week. As long as my brain is working, I will remember this experience.”

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