Staff Spotlight: Abby Maraya

Everyone Home DC is excited to introduce you to Abby Maraya! Abby has been working as a Development and Operations Specialist at Everyone Home DC for the last 2 years. Abby plays an important role in raising friends, funds, and awareness for Everyone Home DC’s critical programs and services. She balances this with also ensuring the organization’s day-to-day operations run smoothly–from fixing tech issues to ordering supplies to checking in on Everyone Home DC’s headquarters location throughout the pandemic. Abby’s first experience with Everyone Home DC  was as a Service Never Sleeps Fellow, where she worked closely with the Street Outreach program while at the same time working as a business manager for an IT company, and before that, she was a program manager at Little Lights. Abby graduated from the University of Virginia and majored in Psychology with a minor in Asian Pacific American Studies.  Abby recently shared a bit about herself and her experience at Everyone Home DC.

What inspired you to work at Everyone Home DC?
AM: As a former Service Never Sleeps fellow, I got to see the awesome work Everyone Home DC does. I was really curious about development because all I’ve known was the program side from my time at Little Lights. I’m glad the timing and opportunity aligned. I am learning and am continuing to learn a great deal under Kate (Akalonu, Director of Strategic Initiatives) due to her breadth of experience and knowledge!

What is one of your favorite Everyone Home DC memories?
AM: One of my favorite memories is the feeling of accomplishment after Everyone Home DC’s signature event in 2019, Sip and Savor. I felt proud of the work we had done and the amazing support from fellow staff and attendees. The hug from Kate at the end of the night was the best and a mark of a successful evening.

What do you wish other people knew about Everyone Home DC?
AM: I’d like people to know that we are here for our entire community and we all thrive when everyone has access to safe, affordable, and comfortable homes. We cannot accomplish our goals without our dedicated supporters! We are always looking for ways to grow and deepen relationships to thrive in DC together!

Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the DC area?
AM: My hometown is Springfield, VA. Heritage wise, I am a proud Filipino-American! I’ve lived in VA since I was 9. DC resident since 2019!

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
AM: Normal times – I love to travel and eat where I’m traveling. Bucket list destinations are France, Japan, Singapore, and wherever I can see the Northern Lights. COVID times – Spending time with my nieces and playing the Nintendo Switch.  Abby Sypek (Community Engagement Manager) got me into Animal Crossing. Just Dance 2021 is how I get my fitness on (Ice Cream by Blackpink feat Selena Gomez on repeat).

If you could go to a concert tomorrow, what artist/group would you want to see and why?
AM: TBH (to be honest) if the Spice Girls had a reunion concert with all the five members, I would pay to go in a heartbeat. For a more realistic answer, I’d like to go to a charity concert featuring Dua Lipa, Adele, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, Lizzo, Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias and of course, Janet Jackson.

What is your favorite thing about working in Washington, DC?
AM: I love being surrounded by passionate, community-minded people. The energy of the city helps too. It’s really great to see people come together for a meaningful cause to make a difference!

What is something people reading this may not know about you?
AM: I was part of a group in college called the Hot Fudge Hunnies and we won an ice-cream eating contest called the Vermonster, twice.