Alumni News — María Escárcega, Notre Dame Preparatory High School, 2005


“I completed a BA in Psychology at ASU and studied Psychology abroad at La Universidad del Valle de México.

I was blessed to have been a part of 1st Way Pregnancy Center fighting for the unborn and impacting the lives of women, to believe they can be mothers.

I found my way into social work. Starting at Southwest Network as a High needs Case Manager for 3 years. I worked directly with the most acute children and families in mental and behavioral health, to help build communities and opportunities for families in need. I then took a job as a Program Manager at Child and Family Support Services, starting their High Needs Case Management program.

I am currently the Safe Environment Coordinator for Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. I am so excited and blessed to have found a position that allows me to live my faith and my love for social impact through my daily work.”

What impact did Catholic schools have on you?

“Catholic schools allowed me the opportunity to be myself during my youth and unapologetically practice and live my faith. I attended public school for my freshman year and being able to go to Notre Dame Preparatory as a sophomore and be able to and share my faith openly without fear was the greatest gift of all. The ability to have mass, spiritual guidance and build lasting friendships with Catholic peers, was instrumental in the continuation of my faith journey.

Having experienced public education, I would say that one of the bigger impacts that Catholic education had in my life, was having educators whose faith was lived out before my very eyes. Experiencing the staff of Notre Dame Prep pour themselves into the students is something I wish for every person. They allowed for truth and beauty to shine in their teaching methods. I am eternally grateful to these men and women and my parents for the gift of a Catholic education.”


“It was an honor to have been able to create a program and manage a team at Child and Family Support Services. I learned so much about myself and leadership through my team. Serving the 8 members of my team and 200 families under my care was an honor and has brought about a renewed perspective for my life.

I was selected for and graduated from the first cohort of the Tepeyac Leadership Initiative. The TLI class of 2018 continues to engage the Catholic community through our service commitments.  Mine include a board membership for a Young professionals group attached to Catholic Charities. We fundraise and bring awareness about their many amazing volunteer opportunities. I also committed to support the expansion of TLI into other dioceses and the growth of future cohorts through the acceptance committee. I was blessed in being able to participate this October 2019 in the panel and expansion efforts of TLI into Los Angeles California!

I am proud to be the first bilingual Safe Environment Coordinator for the Diocese of Phoenix.”

Future plans:

“I hope to continue my work at the Diocese of Phoenix and spread the mission of safe environment, in efforts to eradicate any opportunity for abuse or neglect, within our Catholic communities. I truly consider the safe environment mission to be crucial for our future as a church and in the fight against evil. We must be aware of what lurks in the shadows, in order to stay in the light.

Other goals are to further my education by pursuing a Ph.D. in Psychology and to own and rent several homes within the next 10 years. I hope to be able to travel and see the beauty God has created on this earth.  God willing, I look forward to the day that I can begin my vocation as a wife and mother. Until that day comes, I want to continue to live out my vocation as a single woman and impact the world in any way I can, for the sake of the Kingdom of God.”