Dr. Zorayda Mejia, Founder of My New House

Dr. Zorayda Mejia, Founder of My New House

Zorayda Mejia grew up seeing her parents saving some of their business profit to supply the needs of the poor people in El Salvador. In her childhood, the family distributed food, clothes, shoes, personal hygiene products, and school supplies to the most affected families during the war and after earthquakes and floods. On weekends, Zorayda devoted her time to help in the Special Olympics, giving children with disabilities a distinct perspective of what the world can offer. She also volunteered as a big sister at a shelter for daughters of women in prison. These girls were victims of sex slavery. The exposure to these girls impacted her life so much that she daydreamed of becoming a millionaire and giving all her money to the poor. Years later, after immigrating to the United States, Zorayda became a single mother. She fell from her parent's grace who were her only economic support at that time. This lack of support led to many years of struggle to make ends meet.

In Los Angeles, Zorayda began her community service career as a peer counselor for gang members in the Pico-Union District in 1993. In 1995, she became an AmeriCorps member. AmeriCorps is a federally funded program created by Bill Clinton to train individuals in social welfare fields and to aid the most disadvantaged in the inner-city communities. As an AmeriCorps member, she worked for Jackie Goldberg’s Office, Councilmember 13, where she assisted in the development of the Yucca Community Park that at that time was populated by underserved youth. Now, the park has become a well-established community center in Hollywood. In 2002, Zorayda became the community liaison at Cheremoya Elementary School where she coordinated activities for parents and people of the community of Hollywood.

After volunteering for many years, in March 2007, Zorayda became the volunteer coordinator at Heart of Los Angeles, HOLA. During her tenure at HOLA, she developed a recruitment and retention model that later served in her exit portfolio for her doctorate in Organizational Management. At HOLA, Zorayda was recognized for expanding opportunities for more volunteers of all ages, educational backgrounds, organizations, and communities. In 2009, Zorayda joined La Iglesia En El Camino Los Angeles where she volunteered for the children’s ministries, church's administration, and food distribution simultaneously. With her help, the food distribution evolved into a conventional food bank, called Life En El Camino where she later acted as the executive director. Life En El Camino has served more than 3,000 families since 2011 in the Pico-Union District and South Central Los Angeles. Since 2009, Zorayda has coordinated two Christmas events, Family Day of Joy and Homeless Day of Joy. Together, these two events benefited over 2,500 individuals. Zorayda finds great satisfaction in volunteerism because volunteerism has favored her with opportunities for growth, including career and leadership positions. Zorayda earned an Associate of Arts Degree from Los Angeles City College and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Sociology Gerontology from California State University Los Angeles. Later, she earned a doctorate in Psychology in Organizational Management from Phillips Graduate University. In the present, Zorayda is the is an advocate of women’s leadership, and she acts as the host of a radio program where she brings hope to people in need.