Great Lakes Credit Union and Little Lake County are proud to bring you “Kirby Kids: Kids. Doing. Good. This program recognizes a child each month that is doing good in their community and brings you their stories of determination, hope and goodwill.
When thirteen year old Marina bravely agreed to an adoption request in June of 2015, she began a journey filled with things she hadn’t dreamed possible. She began by moving to the United States, a country far from the one she had always known. She joined a new family, with two new brothers, and parents John and Hyacynth. She had no idea what the future might hold for her. She came together with her new family, in this new country, and began a life completely different from the one she left.
Besides being in a very different part of the world and navigating her new home, Marina also faced the challenges of learning a new language, attending an American school, acclimating socially to church and other social groups, and learning to adapt to a completely different culture. While just one of these things would be a major adjustment for someone to face, Marina boldly faced them all at the same time, far away from the home she had known her whole life.
While some young adults might have crumbled under the stress and pressure of creating a whole new life for ourselves, Marina faced her challenges with bravery, determination and grace. Shortly after arriving and settling into her new home, Marina and mother Hyacynth bonded over their shared love for beauty and creating through art and painting. Hyacynth shared with Marina that her sons, Marina’s brothers, had been painting and selling artwork, amongst many other fundraising activities, to help fund the adoption. Marina was touched and inspired, and the family continued to create more artwork to sell, while donating 30 to 100 percent of the revenue to other families that were trying to adopt.
Marina and Hyacynth felt passionate about continuing to spread beauty through creation and action, and together founded “A Just Love.” This organization is devoted to helping others, and with Marina’s strong faith in God and the support of her new family, she is able to make a difference in other’s peoples lives. Together, Marina and Hyacynth share their story of how the organization came together, and are able to teach painting classes to others to teach beauty through action. Marina’s journey shows how beauty can come from broken, and she continues to inspire so many people by retelling her story, creating art and helping others.
With joy, sometimes there is heartbreak. Although Marina had a very difficult childhood, it is still hard for her to be so far from her friends, other family members, her country, and the culture she had always known. Luckily through FaceTime and occasional visits, she still gets to connect with them and keep that part of her past close to her heart. She is overjoyed by the adoption, but since adoption is rooted in a loss of some sort, Marina has had to heal from the losses she has experienced and that has been a long and painful process at times. She faces each day with faith and hope, and treasures the things that make her feel that way. Most of all, she credits her strong faith in God for helping her move forward with grace.
Marina, now fourteen, spends her time like many other girls her age. She loves reading, soccer and watching movies, especially The Chronicles of Narnia, and dreams of becoming a veterinarian one day. Unlike many others her age, she works diligently on creating art to help others finance their adoptions and help children like herself change their lives. She encourages others to believe in themselves and never give up. She wants kids to know that they can do things that they never thought was possible, and they should never let anyone ever tell them that they can’t do it. Even when things are hard, Marina believes you can get up and make a difference.
Would you like to join Marina and Hyacynth in creating beauty for others? You can help families who are looking to change a life through adoption by checking out their organization, A Just Love. They offer classes, painting parties and retreats for adults and children. You can also remember them around the holidays and for gift giving and check out their artwork for sale in their Etsy shop. You can try something new, appreciate art and beauty, and all the while know that a percentage of the money goes to an absolutely wonderful cause.
Each and every one of our Kirby Kids gets to meet Kirby the Kangaroo at their local Great Lakes Credit Union branch. Kirby met Marina at their local Round Lake Branch and opened up a youth savings account in her name with a $100 starting balance, courtesy of Great Lakes Credit Union.
Do you know an inspirational, courageous or exceptional young person living in Lake County, (age 15 or younger) who is serving as a role model in his or her community? Help us recognize these big hearts! Nominate a child for the Kirby Kids program.
Follow this link to complete a nomination form. If your nominee is selected we will contact you and/or the child’s guardian for inclusion in the Kirby Kids program.
For more information about the Kirby Kids, read our program introduction.
Disclosure: Great Lakes Credit Union is the paid sponsor of the Kirby Kids program.