By: Tandy Wickiser
Maria Ivette Torres Green embodies the concept of answering your calling. She wears many hats: wife, mother, Director of the Development Sigal Music Museum, Founder of Blue DragonFly, owner and baker at Ivey’s Cookies, and Founder of the Anderson County LatinX Advisory Council. She admits that she is tired and her schedule requires no procrastination. However, the fulfillment of meeting needs in our community continues to drive her.
Anderson County was blessed beyond measure ten years ago when her husband’s job relocated them to this community. Maria has been a blessing to many communities. She grew up in New York, where she dreamed of a life of service as a Nun. She ministered to children in Hell’s Kitchen. She studied Religious Theory and Communications in Nashville. Where she worked with the homeless community. She continued that work in Philadelphia, where she met her husband, and the path led them to Anderson.
We can all learn much from her example. Service is our calling. Everyone is called to service. Life in this century can become so frantic that we miss our callings. We are busy working hard, often beating our heads against a wall trying to be everything to everyone. Maria reminds us, “When doing what God wants things fall into place.” Vice Versa things coming into our life are not always meant for us. We are asked to serve on boards, volunteer, and ideas come to us. We should explore those paths but not feel bad being transparent and redirecting. What we are not supposed to do will be hard. Things will not fall into place. As we sat in The Common House, I was so profoundly blessed by her words. I tend to think if things are hard, I just need to work harder. What a blessing to acknowledge that God’s plans for us will fall into place. Also, it is okay to say, I appreciate the opportunity but I am not best suited to help you.
The Human Trafficking epidemic was brought to Maria’s attention while serving on the Foothills Taskforce. She saw a need in Anderson County that was not being filled. That led to the birth of the Blue DragonFly. This organization is able to help with the transition from a life in Human Trafficking. It might take several attempts to break from the chains of abuse. Maria has noticed that many are “brainwashed that they are not worth anything, this makes it hard for them to transition. Her non-profit provides things such as freedom bags and hotel stays. Traditional shelters can present a challenge to this population. The goal is to have a physical location this summer as a drop-in center.
Maria was also called to found Ivey’s Cookies. She fell in love with baking to help our community. You can find her at the Anderson County Farmers Market from May to December with baked goods. The profits from those sales go to numerous local charities. Don’t miss the Chocolate Black Sesame Cookies. Thank me later.
Her third calling at present is the Anderson County LatinX Advisory Council. They seek to connect resources to the Latino Community by bridging gaps like fear and cultural differences. She embraces the idea in all endeavors that you don’t need to talk too much about the issues. Instead, embrace action with a game plan and pivot. The First Anderson Hispanic Festival last year was well received with over 500 in attendance.
You can help in many ways. Blue DragonFly is accepting donations of cash, bags, clothing, and toiletries. You can be on the lookout for volunteering opportunities when the drop-in center opens. You can support Ivey’s Cookies by purchasing some fabulous treats for your family or gifts. You can put the Hispanic Festival on your calendar which is tentatively set for October 14th this year.
The absolute best way to help is to be open to your calling. Whatever it might be, Maria sets the example. We are called to work hard but our callings will be met with open doors and things will fall into place. If things seem forced then take a step back. Maybe the most important step is to take action. Once you get the right people in the room the game plan will come to life.
Maria Ivette Torres Green is an inspiration. I am in awe of her faithfulness to answering each calling God places in front of her. If only we could all see his direction so clearly. The world would indeed be an entirely different place. She has certainly inspired me to listen closer. I hope her story inspires you as well.