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Melanie has always charted her own path. As a kid growing up in Puerto Rico, she preferred to stay inside and read instead of riding her bike. Her mother sometimes had to take her books away to encourage her to go outside. Melanie liked all kinds of foods with the exception of meats. And she refused to eat any meat except for chicken (this became a problem during Lent when the family ate fish).

Everything changed when Melanie was 8 years old and her doctor discovered that Melanie was losing her hearing. Years later she moved to Delaware to seek treatment and attend a school for the deaf. Today, Melanie is totally deaf in one ear and is partially deaf in the other. Even still, Melanie wanted to go her own way. She played sports and also joined a dance group for a school of arts even though her mother worried that she wouldn't be able to hear the music. Melanie enjoyed dancing and played many roles such as folkloric dances and parades.

After getting these opportunities, Melanie wanted to give back. Food was always important in her life. As a kid, Melanie played with dolls and set up flowers and plants in jars to pretend to make dinner. She also began helping her mother in the kitchen for real when she was 8. Melanie followed this interest and graduated with a degree in nutrition. Today, Melanie works as a Registered Dietitian making sure that kids are eating right.

'Food is what brings my big family together,' Melanie says, 'And I want others to grow up with the same healthy relationship to food that I had.'

Are you a WIC Baby? We would love to tell your story! Email us at MDH.WIC@Maryland.gov or message us on Facebook or Instagram @MDH.WIC.