DAYTON, Ohio – There’s no place like home for the holidays – and no better way to spend Christmas Eve than by helping save lives – for first-time donor Samantha Mathews of Centerville.
Samantha and her dad Mike Mathews visited the downtown Dayton CBC Monday, Dec. 24 so they could both donate for the first time. She grew up in Centerville and graduated from Miami University last year. But this Christmas she’s just visiting home because she now works full time in an orphanage in Monterey, Mexico.
Samantha majored in early childhood education at MU, but she’s more like a mom than a teacher to seven boys, ages 10 to 12, in her care. “I get them up in the morning, make sure they have their breakfast, and do their homework,” she said. “The children at the orphanage have either lost their parents, or the parents don’t want to take care of them anymore. Sometimes it’s because they are drug dealers or involved in the drug business down there.”
Samantha danced all the way through grade school and high school at the South Dayton School of Dayton. December always meant performing in “The Nutcracker” in key roles that included the Snow Queen. Her parents went to this year’s Nutcracker performance, but not with Samantha. She traveled home just in time for Christmas and returns to Mexico Jan. 3.
She became interested in mission work through the organization “Back 2 Back.” “I was always dancing during the summer,” she said, “So I didn’t go on my first mission trip to Mexico until the summer after high school. I went back every year and spent two months in the summer doing an internship. I decided it was what I wanted to do.”
Best wishes to you, your family, and the children you care for Samantha! Happy Holidays and thank you for being a blood donor!