Marissa Garza, Cornerstone University

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Marissa Garza says that she has been called into ministry and is determined to open a non-profit medical clinic in a developing country.  She has already taken significant steps in her journey to do so.  
Marissa will be a sophomore this fall at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she is majoring in pre-med and minoring in Bible studies.  She hopes to focus her medical practice on children -- as a pediatric emergency room doctor or surgeon -- and has already been part of medical missions to Haiti and Mexico.  
She got involved in LLI through the encouragement of her high school guidance counselor at Notre Dame Academy in Toledo.  At the time, she was interested in law, and was drawn to the leadership aspect of the program.  She reports that “LLI taught me how to be innovative -- how to develop an idea and put it into action.”  
Marissa says the skills she developed at LLI helped her last winter as she started a non-profit organization called Love Covers All to serve the homeless.  She wasn’t content to spend her six-week long winter break relaxing and hanging out with friends.  Instead, she learned to crochet scarves, solicited donations, and assembled bags of toiletries, food, gloves, scarves, hats, and handmade cards.  To date, Love Covers All has distributed over 450 bags to the homeless in Toledo and Grand Rapids.  She emphasizes that the focus of the organization is not simply to provide necessities to people in need, but “to make a connection with the homeless, to get to know people and their stories, and to break down barriers.”

She is currently working on new fundraising ideas, and towards making Love Covers All a student organization at Cornerstone.  

Marissa urges current LLI students to “not get discouraged and take all assignments seriously. Everything has a point.”