Seattle's Child

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Unsung Heroes: Maria & George Leal overcame obstacles to become inspirational volunteers


Seattle's Child is proud to once again sponsor the Unsung Heroes being honored in February by the Department of Children, Youth and Families Strengthening Families Washington.

Nominations are accepted from around the state and and include biological parents, grandparents, foster and adoptive parents. Some volunteer at local schools; some have started nonprofit organizations; some mentor others in their communities. All honorees are true heroes: outstanding caregivers doing important work on behalf of children.


Maria & George Leal


It is a great pleasure to nominate Maria and George Leal of Chehalis for the 2019 Unsung Hero Award.  I first met the Leals in 2006 when their first child, Alejandra, was enrolled in the Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP).  She attended the program for two years and then they enrolled their daughter Anabril in 2009 and once again in 2010 when they enrolled Jorge.  A few years went by until we met again, when they enrolled Jyselle in ECEAP; she is currently with us.  By June, the family will be with ECEAP for a total of eight years.


When I first started interacting with the Leals it was challenging and somewhat difficult.  They were young parents that were trying very hard to overcome many obstacles.  With much guidance, hard work and determination they have shown much resilience to become the great people they are today.


The Leals demonstrate great volunteerism and community involvement.  They volunteered at Centralia College ECEAP three times a week, fours a day until Jyselle asked them not to: She wanted a school day for herself.  Now they volunteer twice a week.  They coach soccer for Centralia Youth Soccer and are involved with many different aspects with Twin Cities Youth Football.


They have the ability to interact well with children.  They communicate on a child’s level so they understand and feel comfortable.  They build a connection with each child they come in contact with.  They have the ability to read the situation and ask for help, if needed.  They bring inspiration, humor and guidance to every situation and classroom.  They have great tone, volume and communication with everybody they come in contact.  Simply, they are an inspiration.


Once again, it is a great pleasure to nominate the Leals.  They show great leadership and compassion with each person they meet, big or small.  They have become family. 

Nominated by: Kelli O’Reilly​, Centralia College ECEAP


More Unsung Heroes

Go here to read about all of the 2019 honorees

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