For Cecilia Estrada-Ashe, volunteering comes naturally because it’s something she grew up doing.
“My parents were big volunteers, so I have seen it all my life,” Estrada-Ashe said. “I have always done volunteering.”
So it’s not surprising when Estrada-Ashe and her family moved to Maricopa six years ago from Alamogordo, N.M., she settled into her new home by quickly becoming an active member of the community.
One of the first organizations she joined was the Maricopa Rotary Club. She’s helped organize its annual barn dance every year since.
But for Estrada-Ashe, community involvement is more than a learned habit.
Instead of seeing volunteering as a sacrifice cutting into her personal free time, Estrada-Ashe uses volunteer work as a way to spend quality time with her husband, Michael, and her two daughters and son who are 24, 22, and 14, respectively.
“My husband is very supportive,” Estrada-Ashe said. “And my kids, they just do what I ask them to do. They’ve been out on the highway cleaning. Everywhere I go, they go.”
But it’s not all work for the family. When Maricopa’s only pool needed to be painted in 2009, the Estrada-Ashe family was there, incorporating the volunteer work into a Mother’s Day celebration barbecue.
“It’s the only local, city pool in the community,” Estrada-Ashe said.
The pool project is especially gratifying to Estrada-Ashe: “It’s about seeing the kids learning how to swim because the state of Arizona has so many drownings every year.”
Volunteering also helps Estrada-Ashe find additional fulfillment in her career as market president at Great Western Bank. She has been in the banking industry for 33 years.
“We are always encouraged to participate in the community,” Estrada-Ashe said of the bank employees.
“I always ask myself, ‘How can the tools I have as a banker assist the community, the people in need?’”
Estrada-Ashe is on the finance committee of Our Lady of Grace Church.
“A banker is great to have on your council,” said Wayne Santi, the parish’s assistant administrator. “We may be a small church, but there are a lot of small purchases to make and she understands that.”