This month’s Client Cameo is Mercedes L. She has been a loyal Carry-Out Caravan client since early 2020. She was born in New York but moved to Boulder when she was 16. She grew up in a very volatile home and has lived with rheumatoid arthritis since she was diagnosed with it as a child. Yet, Mercedes is a survivor, advocate, artist, physicist, and most of all, incredibly humble for having such a brilliant mind! Mercedes is a Triple Niner, which means she demonstrates an IQ at or above the 99.9th percentile of the human population on a standardized IQ test. It’s not often you meet someone as gifted and accomplished with both the artistic right brain and scientific left brain.

Mercedes got her degree in Physics at CU Boulder. As an undergraduate, she worked at CU’s Nuclear Cyclotron and did two years of graduate school until she had to discontinue her studies due to health reasons. In graduate school, she worked for NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) and JILA (Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics) in precision measurement. She worked in high-tech sales for seven years after graduate school. Mercedes also studied Jewelry Smithing, painting, and Multimedia Graphic Design at Front Range Community College and is a gifted artist. She works in mixed media, including watercolor paints, oil paints, pastels, glass, quilting, felting, coiling, needle art, beading, weaving, metal smithing, computer art, and more. She likes the interesting results she gets from mixing virtual and physical art.

Mercedes spends her time volunteering, creating art, and writing. She is an advocate for social and environmental justice and has been a volunteer for TGTHR, a non-profit for at-risk and unhoused youth. She has also been on the Board of Directions for SPAN (Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Non-Violence) and served as Board Chair for a year. She is working on a blog/podcast to help people suffering from trauma, using her experience as a trauma survivor, as well as the scientific knowledge she holds about healing and healthy living. She wants to be a maker-pace librarian when she grows up and share her vast knowledge of both science and a multitude of different arts!

If Mercedes had to describe herself in three words, they would be survivor, volunteer, and polymath (because she is a person with great and varied learning). Some of her volunteer work includes helping at the Unity Church youth program, KGNU radio station, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, CUs EOP (Equal Opportunity Program), and Boulder Experiments, which resulted in the creation of the Pearl Street Mall. Finally, she has spent over 25 years helping trauma survivors.

Mercedes says that Cultivate has been a lifesaver to her. She has been using Carry-Out Caravan weekly since the start of COVID. Being in a wheelchair limits her ability to get out with ease and, with her autoimmune disease, our services have helped keep her healthy. Being homebound, she appreciates what Cultivate volunteers do for her. She appreciates the interaction with the order takers, which helps her feel connected. Her face-to-face contact with her delivery driver, Mary Lynne, gives her a sense of community. She says Mary Lynne helps beyond delivering and putting her groceries away; she also helps her around her apartment with small tasks she needs extra help with. It’s clients like Mercedes who validate the good work our programs and volunteers do! Mercedes says hip, hip, hooray for Cultivate!

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 as well as an Ambassador for the Boulder Chamber. 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