Marion McLaughlin

A Legacy of Love and Community

Marion McLaughlin volunteered with and supported Via/Los Ninos for decades.  She began her service to the organization back in the 1970’s, participating with her husband and hundreds of others in a fundraising walk-a-thon that covered 160 miles from Los Angeles to Tijuana!  She was so inspired and committed, that she did the walk every year for 24 years, inspiring other walkers who often had a tough time keeping up with her stamina!

Marion did more than just walk for the cause.  She was passionate about service, and while her husband Bill sat on the Los Ninos Board of Directors, Marion consistently worked with the organization behind the scenes, doing all those supportive actions that helped the programs thrive.  She made cookies, planted trees, cooked meals and schlepped supplies.  But more importantly, she listened to people and embraced their stories and their realities with a sincerity and acceptance that was extraordinary.  She would travel from her home on the East Coast to regularly participate in bi-national events and come on extended visits to the programs in the border region.  She maintained personal relationships with the staff and the field outreach workers, all who hold her dear. Marion had a passion for the nutrition education and leadership capacity program that over the decades in which she participated, developed many dozens of community health workers who continue to share their wisdom and continue to work towards building self-sufficiency in poor communities in the border region. Her legacy truly lives on in this program.

About a decade ago, when her husband Bill passed on, we invited Marion to take his seat on the board.  Citing her preference for volunteering on the ground, and noting that she was near 80 years old, she recommended her son Jim McLaughlin who continues to serve on the board, supporting us with his wonderful photography and outreach and continuing to honor both of his parents service with his own.

Marion reminds us of another time.  One where people committed to things and stayed committed, believing that lifelong relationships are what create a better world.  Marion believed that real community is not just based on proximity, but instead it is a path built through purposeful engagement with others. The very call of being in community requires a kind of leadership of the heart that opens new pathways to move forward toward a more loving future. What does this kind of love look like? For Via International and Los Ninos, it looks like Marion McLaughlin, who will remain at the very heart of our community. Marion taught us that self-reliance is the very overflow of love that comes through connection with others. Trust,  Love, and Invest in each other.

You can honor Marion’s service by making a donation to our Nutrition and Ecology Education Program, which last year, provided environmental education to 900 children, trained 250 mothers in healthful and cost efficient ways to better feed their families, provided 14,400 school meals to low-income kids in Mexico, and continued to develop the capacity of dozens of women to become community health workers, sharing this important information with even more people!