Our client cameo for September is Mary Doyle-Steers who is happy that we are featuring her during her birthday month!  Mary was born and raised in Yonkers, New York and is one of three daughters. She attended private Catholic schools in New York until her senior year when her family relocated to North Carolina. After high school she attended Pitt Community College, finished in a year and a half, graduating with an Associates of Arts Degree. 

Not wanting to settle in North Carolina she started looking for a small college to attend, away from North Carolina. First, she checked out a Forestry college in North Dakota close to the Canadian border. That wasn't for her, so she took the next available flight (to anywhere!) from North Dakota, which ended up being to Denver. She visited Boulder, went home, packed her 1973 Pinto, and moved here. While most of her previous jobs were clerical and bookkeeping, Mary's also been a nurse’s aide, sold encyclopedias, baby sat, house sat, cleaned, cooked for a family, and was a para-pro in a local high school multi-intensive special ed program. Mary was always grateful to have a job and doesn't believe that any job is beneath any of us. 

In 1978, Mary enrolled in CU, taking as many credits as possible, while also working for the City of Boulder Transportation Department. She graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Creative Writing. Mary was an avid adventurer and loved backpacking, hiking camping, cross country skiing, and open water racing. She has traveled extensively in Western Canada, the Western US, Alaska, and Hawaii. In her early thirties she married. Although the marriage didn’t last, she has no regrets because they have a beautiful daughter. After her divorce she jointly raised her child, continued doing accounting and in 1999 started her own accounting business which she ran solo for 18 years until retirement. 

Unfortunately, medical issues led to Mary retiring earlier than planned, however that has allowed her to focus on her passions, including writing and volunteering. She has a few pieces published and has a lot of ambition pursuing her writing. Currently, she’s enjoying authoring short stories to pass on to her nineteen-month-old grandson. Mary's volunteer positions have included helping in special ed in middle schools, helping at church, and with various local races, especially the ones raising money for worthy causes. She also volunteered for about 5 years at Cultivate, helping with our RSVP and VetsGo programs. Mary thinks giving back to our communities, however we can, is crucial in life. 

Covid has reinforced Mary's belief that it’s imperative we be kind to each other and to ourselves, that we be gentle with our words, and shouldn't be judging each other for what we think, believe, or do. Three words to describe Mary are inquisitive, determined, and compassionate which are evident through her curiosity and quest for learning, determination to work hard in all areas of life, and compassion towards others, and giving back. 

Mary believes it's essential to be a contributing member of society, to work hard at all jobs until you find the one you want and enjoy, volunteer and give back to the community, smile as often as you can, and laugh with friends. When negative situations arise, look for the lesson. and if possible, find the humor in it. It’s important to have spirituality in our lives, to be kind to others, including yourself, to be gentle with words and actions, be generous of heart, and when you can be generous in other ways, do so. 

Mary has been a client of Cultivate for several years. She says the Fix-It Program has been a lifesaver, and is worth its weight in gold, as are each of the volunteers. Without Cultivate's help, Mary says she would not be able to remain living independently. She started using Carry-Out Caravan a year ago and appreciates all the volunteers who were willing to mask up and shop for her and all the other clients who need this valuable program.  

Thank you Mary for sharing your story and we hope you have a fabulous month celebrating your birthday!

About Cam Low:

Cam Low, a Boulder Native, enjoys the outdoors, practicing yoga, listening to live music, and spending time with her friends and family.  As an avid Buffs fan, she is a devoted volunteer with the CU Boulder Alumni Chapter and Buffs4Life. She joined the Cultivate family in March 2020 as a Business Development and Program Specialist. Cam is passionate about helping seniors and eager to introduce Cultivate clients to other people within the Cultivate Community, further encouraging the connection and relationship between clients, volunteers, donors, and staff. 

Our wonderful clients are integral members of the Cultivate family! Each month we will feature their stories in Client Cameo. If you are interested or know anyone else who would like to be featured, please contact Cam Low at clow@cultivate.ngo