She wanted to make a young girl’s dream come true.
That’s what inspired SJC Long Island’s Myrka Argueta, 20, to donate school supplies to 7-year-old Estefany while visiting family in her father’s hometown of San Antonio Silva in El Salvador this summer.
“I was playing with six kids at the field behind our family homes, and I noticed one little girl taking care of her brother who was only 1 year old,” Argueta, a junior majoring in criminal justice, said. “They were using grass and rocks as their toys. I asked the young girl a few questions to get to know her better, one of them being ‘What is your favorite school subject?'”
When the little girl responded that, although she’s always wanted to, she’s never attended school because her mom can’t afford to buy her supplies, Argueta knew she had to do something.
“This instantly broke my heart and I knew I had to make this little girl’s dream come true,” she said. “As an international pageant queen in the country of El Salvador representing both New York and El Salvador, I instantly followed my heart and knew I had to give back to those who supported me when in competition, as well as be an example to the younger ones who look up to me in that country.”
Inspired to Act
After speaking with Estefany, Argueta and her father went shopping and purchased school supplies for the child.
“We donated a pink backpack, pencils, notebooks, colored pencils, sharpeners, a ruler, a pencil case, markers and an agenda with a motivational quote to push the young girl to never give up on her dreams, no matter the hardships she may face,” Argueta said.
“We also got a coloring book, jump rope and bracelet maker to allow her and her brother to enjoy what kids here in the United States enjoy during their free time after school,” she added.
Although they met Estefany toward the end of their 15-day trip, Argueta and her family knew they wanted to help make a difference for some of the other local children, as well.
“As of right now, me and my family are going to be gathering clothing and school supplies to send to other children in the community,” she said. “The way we see our mission is if we were able to help one child reach their dreams, we are able to do it for many others. The children are our main motivations to giving back after seeing their beautiful and kind personalities and their dedication to their families.”
Appreciating the Little Things
Argueta, a first-generation college student from Brentwood, gained something from the children in return: a new perspective.
“All the children stood out in their own ways, with their silly and loving personalities,” she said. “One thing I noticed in common within each of them was their appreciation for the littlest things, such as candy, a high five, playing a game and so forth. Those children allow me to look at life in a whole new perspective, which is to be grateful for what I have.”
“Aside from giving back, I was able to learn more in depth about the beautiful culture El Salvador has to offer,” said Argueta, who was named a 2016-17 pageant queen of New York, a 2017-18 pageant queen of Puerto Rico, and a 2018-19 pageant queen of both El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.
“I learned how to cook with homegrown veggies, to raise animals, to play soccer much better (as it is the most common sport played over there), but most of all I learned how to appreciate the little things in life, whether it be foods, gifts, family or life itself,” she added.