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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rotary Club honors Bailey Elementary Club parent liaison Maria Demarest

Max Gross, the past President of Bailey 's Rotary, presents the Citizen of the Year Award to Maria Demarest. 
By Bob Polson

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.


  1. This award is well-deserved. Maria Demarest is a tireless, enthusiastic woman who has helped hundreds of families, regardless of race or income, in the Bailey's area. Felicitaciones Maria!

  2. Mason District Resident9/13/12, 12:27 PM

    I have known Maria for the past 5 years. She is a wonderful woman, a great community advocate and joy to speak with. This honor is well deserved!

  3. Maria Demarest is a treasure.

  4. Ms.Maria is the best of the best with no questions asked! With her warm smile and hugs she is perfection to the touch.

    -Elias Markez

  5. Sra. Demarest is such a welcoming person, non judgemental, and a warm person to talk to. She treats everyone with respect and she has the care and concern that only a mother will show. I really enjoy the special way Sra. Demarest talks to the Hispanic young mothers. She empowers them to become more independent women and how to advocate for their children's education despite their educational level. I am honored to work at Bailey's school and work with such a compassionate woman. She is such a role model to follow!

  6. I am in my second year of teaching at Bailey's Elementary and Maria Demarest has truly been a link between the school and the families in our community. She is instrumental in communicating the needs of both the teachers and the families in a way that ties us together. She seeks to serve others and better the community, one family at a time. This is a well deserved honor for Maria!

  7. A well deserved recognition indeed!
    From what I have observed as a Baileys ES parent and volunteer for about 7 years, Maria Demarest has been invaluable in connecting families to the school, as she helps parents and students navigate the system, empowers them, provides parenting classes, presentations such as internet safety, gangs, health, nutrition, manages a clothing boutique, food pantry, helps when a family loses their home in a house fire, if a parent loses their job, if they need help with immigration papers, doctors' visits, sometimes tragic family emergencies...
    She is trusted by the families as she lends always a non-judgmental ear and hand. And amazingly she never forgets the names of former students, parents, siblings she helps with sincere warmth and encouragement. Our neighborhood has many diverse families and Maria Demarest, as other Parent Liaisons, is like a cultural ambassador among communities who otherwise may not interact with, or understand one another. She is one of the people who over the years, have made this a community school. She embodies the best in a human being!

  8. Usually i keep telling her she will deserve Nobel Prize ,i know her for a while but she like an angel loving any one no matter who u are.
    Am working as a parent Laisison in a high school ,she is the one who have nominated me to have this position .
    She deserve the best i love u Maria.

  9. She deserves more that, She is the best person I ever meet in my life. Ms.Maria has only two handsome boys and she always says that she considers me as her daughter.
    My best Respect for you Ms.Maria and I love you from the bottom of my heart.