Lotus Flower

While attending Ponce De Leon Middle School, Melissa Saldaña got involved in volunteer projects such as serving as Treasurer of the Youth For Environmental Studies Club. Little did she know that spending her lunches helping to reconcile accounts was great training for her future career in nonprofit financial management.
Text by Sandy Lindsey | October 31, 2018 | People

Melissa Saldaña’s grandfather was a Lions Club member in her native Puerto Rico. “I would always see him working on a project, whether it was organizing excursions to historic and recreational sites or hosting a collection drive for toys and clothes for needy children,” she says. “From an early age, I was taught to be generous with my blessings with those in need.” She started with Lotus House in November 2016 as Grants Manager and was promoted to Assistant CFO/Comptroller in October 2017, helping oversee a budget of over $9,000,000. “Working in a shelter makes me feel like I’m on the front lines,” she says. Lotus House is an organization dedicated to improving the lives of homeless women, youth and children. They provide sanctuary, support, education, tools and resources that empower them to heal, learn, grow and blossom into who they are truly meant to be. They currently shelter 400 women and children nightly in their new home, Lotus Village, with additional capacity to shelter up to 550. “Pope St. John Paul II said ‘A society will be judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members,’” she says. “If we want Miami to be a world-class city, we need to make sure organizations like Lotus House get the funding needed to serve even more women and families.”; LotusHouse.

“It touches my heart whenever we welcome a new family into Lotus House — I love seeing the spontaneous celebrations whenever a family is able to move into a new home of their own after we’ve helped them get back on their feet.”