|Max Gross, the past President of Bailey 's Rotary, presents the Citizen of the Year Award to Maria Demarest.|
The Rotary Club of Bailey’s Crossroads has honored Maria Demarest with the Citizen of the Year Award for 2011-12. The award honors Demarest for exemplifying the Rotary ideals of “putting service above self,” “building good will and better friendships,” and working “to benefit all concerned.”
Demarest has been a parent liaison at Bailey’s Elementary School since 1991 and was the first Hispanic parent liaison for the Fairfax County Public Schools. Over these 21 years, her time, energy, and dedication to the service of the community has consistently gone beyond what is required by her job description.
Her trailer behind Bailey’s is viewed as a community center where both new immigrants and community leaders go for information; assistance; and classes in English literacy, parenting, and health and nutrition. It is in large part because of Maria’s untiring outreach efforts and warm spirit, compassion, and loving smile that parents and community leaders feel welcome there.
Maria was instrumental in creating the “boutique” at Bailey’s, which offers clothing and other resources to those in need. She also helped create Helping Hands, which engages parents to work in the boutique. By volunteering, parents with limited English skills and limited resources learn the benefits of being involved in their child’s school, learn new skills, and experience the good feeling that comes from working for the benefit of others.
Bob Polson is public information director for the Bailey's Crossroads Rotary Club.