Written by Megan Juba
“People ask me, ‘Where are you from Maggie?’ And I think,” (she pauses….) “I am from the World–from every place. Every place that I go, I fit in. I am very small but I am HUGE inside.” Maggie Falconi was born in Ecuador but grew up traveling all over the world throughout her childhood. She was always looking for mountains and nice quiet places. “This town attract me since I got here. I was walking on ‘F’ Street...I remember myself with high heels and all dressed up. Now I thought, what a clown! What’s happening to me?!” she laughs at the memory of herself, new to town in 1991. She could speak, read and write five languages “really well” but now “just probably three, four.” With her skills and experience, she found her true calling–to care for, connect with and empower minority populations and those in need locally. She is truly an abundance of love for all people.
Nineteen years ago at the high school she asked, “where are the exchange students? I don’t see any exchange student here.” So, she started the program and still runs it with endless enthusiasm and energy. She beams when she talks about how the exchange students come back and are different, how they seem to appreciate things more and bring a bigger world view home with them. She also loves when students come here from other parts of the world because “it’s culture…exposure to young kids how people lives all over the world.”
Maggie has an office in every school in the district as an English as a Second Language teacher helping both students and their families adjust to life in the US. She interprets for the prison, runs InterAct Rotary club a community service focused program at the High School and facilitates a fun class called Intercambio for people wanting to learn languages from each other at CMC. Maggie says, “I feel if I am not doing something. If I sit, it is not myself. I am busy 24/7. It gives me a lot of energy to keep helping people.” Every hat she wears is impactful and important, so she keeps juggling them all.
Maggie is humble. She does not like to be called a Saint. Adamantly, she says, “No, I am a regular person. Don’t put me up. I am at your level. I am a human being. I do things because I want to help. And I want you to learn how to help too. Because if you are helping each other, then it’s a better world.”