Truckee woman honored by Soroptimists | SierraSun.com

Truckee woman honored by Soroptimists

Sierra Countis
Sierra Sun

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunCindy Maciel, program director for Sierra Teen Education and Parenting Program, stands outside the school in Truckee Monday morning.

Positive. Energetic. Empathetic. These are a few of the qualities Cindy Maciel possesses as this year’s Woman of Distinction.

The 39-year-old will be honored Wednesday night as a Woman of Distinction by the Soroptimist International of Truckee-Donner for her involvement within the Truckee community for more than 10 years.

Since 1984 the Soroptimist organization has been honoring local women who have made outstanding achievements through their professional, business, or volunteer activities. Maciel is being honored for her contributions in education at Sierra High School as the program director for Sierra Teen Education and Parenting Program.

“She is just really a well put-together woman,” said Leslie Williams, Soroptimist’s coordinator for human rights/status of women.

As a wife, mother, and advocate, Maciel is visible in the community, Williams said.

Maciel moved to town with her husband, Ed Maciel, and her daughter, Sammi, in 1995. She said she hated living in Truckee when she first moved up because she didn’t know anyone, except her parents, who lived practically “right in my backyard,” Maciel said.

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It wasn’t long, however, before she developed friendships through her involvement in the play group, Truckee Family Connection, when Sammi was just a few months old. The community connections soon led to more opportunities for Maciel.

In 1998, Maciel made the decision to go back to work after she was offered the opportunity to start a teen pregnancy program for Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. The Soroptimists “rallied behind the concept” of STEPP from the beginning, Maciel said.

Sierra Teen Education and Parenting Program (STEPP) provides child care for students while they take academic classes and parenting classes, she said.

“She has a really good way of being a mentor and a friend to the girls,” said Chris Otto, Soroptimist president.

Otto has worked with Maciel at STEPP for two years. Not just anyone could do Maciel’s job, Otto said.

There are always challenges on the job, but Maciel said her greatest reward is knowing she’s taught her students life skills that extend beyond the classroom.

“You see those students working at meaningful, good jobs. It warms your heart,” Maciel said. “You helped them on that journey.”

Maciel is also a part of the Tahoe Truckee Perinatal Outreach Team, The Child Abuse Council, Tahoe Truckee Collaborative, and a board member for InnerRhythms Dance Theatre. She is busy working on her bachelor’s degree in psychology, with an emphasis in adolescent development.

“I’m a work in progress,” she said. “There’s so much more that I want to do.”