Bold Roots

Marina Scarmato is a model citizen, in more ways than one.

By Eric Edelman

The city of Doral is more than just one of the most diverse cities in South Florida. Some might colloquially refer to it as the “United Nations,” for its abundance of rich and varied cultures, but to residents of Doral, particularly those like Marina Scarmato, they know the city of Doral by another name—the Tree City. Scarmato, like any firmly planted tree, knows firsthand the importance of a solid foundation, the influence of rich roots. Like the city she calls home, she is of a tremendously diverse background. Argentinian by birth, Scarmato was raised by her grandparents. Her grandfather was a highly accomplished soldier in the Argentinian army, and her grandmother was a fighter in her own regard. A staunch crusader for education, she helped found more than 50 schools in the country. To this day, her grandparents remain her strongest role models.

While early childhood memories are fond and mostly positive, as she got older and her grandparents fell ill, eventually, her mother moved into the house. Living through extreme poverty, Scarmato still remembers nights where she would lie to ensure the rest of her siblings could scrape by with a rare meal. When she was 15, she faced a dilemma: immigrate to the United States to live with her father or stay home and remain with her grandmother. Despite the extreme pressure of the decision, she chose the States, and soon after, she encountered challenges of a different kind. Rather than it being poverty or starvation, Scarmato struggled with the language barrier and academic rigor, which was much more intense in comparison to her native Argentina. “My counselor made me repeat the freshman year so I could learn English,” she recalls. “School was tough at first. I had to translate every single assignment so it took me double the time.” Despite the challenge, she eventually overcame and would go on to be a model student and athlete, eventually landing a competitive job that would bring her to the city of Doral in 2016, her present-day home. 

With bold roots going back to her grandparents’ generation, the legacy of selflessness and emphasis on charity continues. A current representative of the city of Doral in the Miss Florida USA competition, Scarmato has parlayed her hard work and perseverance into helping the community. Her volunteer work stretches from her endeavors with the All for One tree-planting project and a movement she helped launch, the Wonder Woman Movement (WWM), an organization dedicated to women’s empowerment. Scarmato remains ever-committed to helping her community, as well as the people of Doral—especially women, whom she is especially passionate about. Just like her grandparents before her, she maintains a rich legacy of giving, sacrifice, and helping those around. “The goal is to remind women that inner beauty is what prevails,” Scarmato says. “Ten, 30, 50 years from now the only thing that will matter are the things that you have accomplished, the memories of good times, the people you’ve helped along the way, and those are the things that define you as a person.”

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