This week on “Our Community Stories”, Tanzanite Toronto has the pleasure of introducing Maria Scupham — a true hard-working individual with a loving personality. In our opinion, Maria is the definition of a superwoman!
Maria was born in Chang’ombe, Tanzania. During her youth she attended Olympio elementary and later Chang’ombe elementary school until grade 6. At this point, most of Maria’s family from her mother’s side had immigrated to Canada or England. After applying for a visa nine times, Maria and her family finally received the opportunity to begin a new life overseas in Canada.
Maria arrived with her family July 30th, 1987 and was warmly welcomed by her extended family here who had vouched to give them any assistance in case of necessity in their transition. Maria and her family will be forever grateful to her uncle Raymond and aunt Diane for enabling them to live in their home for 18 months while they lived in their finished basement. When speaking with Maria of her transition to Canada, she noted the challenges of being a visible minority. There were times when she was bullied, however she was able to get through these challenges with the support of her family. Maria was surrounded with her brother, sisters, cousins and teachers who were accommodating and understanding. This support network helped her overcome the challenges of moving to a new country, and excel academically. Maria attended Bishop Scalabrini School, and later Father Michael Goetz in Mississauga. For post-secondary, Maria pursued a General Arts and Science diploma at Seneca College.
During her post-secondary school time, Maria lived with a close family friend named Sheila D’Souza. Maria stayed with Sheila throughout the week to reduce her commute time, allowing her additional time to focus on studying. After one year, Maria switched to a different campus to allow her to be closer to family. She then hitched a ride with family friends to campus each day. From a young age, Maria has recognized the importance of family and has made it a priority to be there for her family.
One of Maria’s favourite hobbies was playing field hockey. She was exposed to the competitive sport as a child watching the D.I. VS Tornados rival teams go head to head and cheered on the D.I. teams as her parents both played for D.I. Maria feels blessed to have had her aunt and uncle, Steve and Suzie Pereira who encouraged her to play when she came to Canada and build her experience playing in the GOA league. This is where she met the head coach of Western University’s women’s field hockey team. The head coach recognized Maria’s sportsmanship & talent, and encouraged her to join the team. This lead Maria to transition to the University of Western where she pursued a degree in Sociology.
Upon graduating, Maria knew her passion was in helping others. She continued to pursue a career in helping others at a physio clinic she had worked at since 16 years of age. One year after working at the clinic, Maria married Jeff Scupham. Soon thereafter, Maria and Jeff welcomed two children into their new family.
During this time, Maria also started her own business as a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant. This provided her with an opportunity of reaching out to other women with the purpose of enriching their lives. When Maria was pregnant with her third child, she was laid off from the physio clinic which was challenging. However, again with the support of family and a positive mindset, Maria was able to overcome this challenge. With 3 children to care for, Maria and Jeff felt it was best that she become a fulltime homemaker. They had three more additions to their family being blessed with three girls and three boys.
Maria took on a new job as a supply facilitator in a parent literacy program. This program focused on building positive adult & child relationships for children between the ages of 0 to 6. Soon thereafter, Maria took on a lunch supervisor position at her children’s school — multitasking her two jobs alongside taking care of her own children, nieces and nephews. Today, Maria spends her time as a homemaker. On average, this is her typical day:
A Day in the Life of Maria:
Every day, Maria wakes up at 5:00am to drive her husband to work. After returning, she has a few hours to herself, often engaging in personal prayer time, a morning workout to stay active. After waking her children up, she ensures they are all ready for school and sends them on their way. During the day, Maria takes care of her niece and nephew. She expresses how grateful she is to spend time with them. Maria also notes how privileged she is to be at home and spend more quality time with her parents. Once the school day is finished, Maria picks up her children, and some other children in the neighborhood, and drops them home. Once at home, Maria takes care of a young student with special needs until 6pm every day. She further takes part in monthly council meetings, a mothers group at church, and has been a house league baseball coach for her youngest son. Maria acknowledges that with the constant prayers from her family and friends even those who have gone before us she will always be her recharged!
We also had the opportunity of asking Maria a few questions.
Who’s the one person that’s inspired you the most?
The one person that inspires Maria the most is her mom. In Tanzania, her mom had one of the largest families — and this is what Maria draws her inspiration from. Her mom always tried to reach out to as many people as she could, and always made a positive impact on the people around her. If someone visited her home, she would always welcome them with open arms, and was always able to create some small treat for those individuals whenever they did. She cherishes those moments, and looks up to her mom for being such an open and loving person.
What’s a book that has made the most positive impact on your life?
The Five Love Languages — this has been very effective in helping Maria build better relationships with her husband, six children, co-workers, friends and family.
What purchase of $100 or less has impacted you the most?
Maria had paid $50 to attend a marriage renewal program at St. Catherine of Siena in March. She noted it was the best investment because it’s always something she wanted to do. Maria expresses no marriage is perfect, and you always have to continually work on it. During the weekend at the program, Maria and Jeff got to focus on communication, and had the opportunity to hear other couples, and their journeys. This marriage renewal program is called BLD Toronto — Bukas Loob Sa Diyos (Open in Spirit to God). You can find it at the following link www.bldtoronto.com
What advice would you give to the youth in our community?
“Be the best version of yourself” — whether it’s in school, playing sports, the friends you keep, or how you deal with yourself. Maria says if you continually are the best version of yourself, then you are being true to yourself. There will be points in your life that are difficult. Just know there are people who want to help, and never be ashamed to ask. Maria truly believes that we are ALL children of God. A God who loves us UNCONDITIONALLY. With this Great love comes a gift of Freedom. Freedom that we are graced with every day and so, it is our responsibility to show God that we love Him right back by exercising our freedom of choice and doing what He would wish us to do in any given situation.
Is there anything you’d like to share with the community?
Maria said she is grateful for having Tanzanite events be positive highlights in her summers and falls for the past 32 yrs. in Canada and for the past 18 yrs. her husband and children are privileged to have it as a positive experience in their lives as well. If we want to see the Tanzanite community continue to grow, then we must empower the youth by choosing to be positive and choosing to guide them. To the adults, it’s important to embrace the new technology the youth are used to, since it’s a part of their lives, and will help improve our communication with them. To the youth, be aware that everyone is NOT connected in the ways that you are, and so making personal phone calls becomes important and makes a significant impact to the success of our community events. The youth must make the older community feel important because they truly are. They are the ones who created and maintained our community all these years and so we will continue to thrive as a Tanzanite Community by implementing the Golden Rule (To do unto others as you would have them do unto you) in all that we aspire to do so that our future generations can ALWAYS have a taste of the togetherness that formed our community in the first place.