Makaila Gay is a freshman majoring in social work with a minor in Spanish. Gay said that she chose this major because she wants to work with children in the foster care system.
“I desire to make a positive, lasting impression and social work made the most sense,” Gay said. “I minored in Spanish to couple it with my major, but I also really enjoy learning the language. I find it to be very beautiful.”
Gay said that Theta’s philanthropy, Sunflower CASA, is important to her because she used to have an advocate.
“They make a positive difference in the lives of children,” Gay said. “Kids need someone who can stand up for them when they cannot themselves. “
She said that her favorite memory with her CASA volunteer was when they met for dinner to catch up after she had been adopted.
“At this point in time she was no longer my volunteer, but I am honored I have the opportunity to call her my best friend,” Gay said. “A week ago we were eating lunch on the plaza and we were chatting like old friends. She had just made a surprise visit to Manhattan to see me give my speech at Light of Hope, but it was like we had not seen each other in ages.”
Gay said that her CASA volunteer taught her that life could become so much better if you just gave it a chance.
“I think I learned my listening skills from her and how to not dominate a conversation when someone needs to speak their thoughts,” Gay said. “This skill has helped immensely when helping others and allows me to connect with people. She built up a confidence in me that has lasted, helping me to obtain leadership roles and to just simply be confident in myself.”
She said that her CASA volunteer also taught her how to be a self-advocate.
“CASA volunteers are advocates for children and that is their most powerful tool,” Gay said. “Advocacy makes for strong individuals who will be successful because they are not afraid to share their opinion.”