Maria first realized her passion for helping seniors thrive at 15 while working as a server at a Watermark community. After college, senior living became her chosen profession. As a community life associate nearly 20 years later, Maria has found her calling. It’s her job to get to know each resident and discover what brings them joy. For one person it may be opera singing, and for another it may be gardening. She then finds ways to help connect that individual with those passions every day. Creating those sparks of joy for residents rewards Maria in ways no paycheck ever could. Helping seniors thrive is more than her job, it’s her life. She’s inspired by their resilience, hope and optimism even in the face of challenging times. With family visits temporarily curtailed during the COVID-19 pandemic, family members told Maria that while they could not come inside and hug their loved one, they were grateful Maria could be there for them. Maria and her colleagues put their creativity into high gear to keep residents engaged even when confined to their residence. Video chats with relatives were a big hit, a sustainable tradition that brings even distant relatives together to create new and lasting memories.