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  • Writer's picturePaige Onder

Melissa - Translator / Entrepreneur

Updated: Jan 18

This post is part of "The Story Behind Hazleton," a senior project completed by Paige Onder, an Immanuel Christian School graduate from the class of 2023.

While we all get a short 24 hours in a day, Melissa utilizes 20 of these hours to work and create the life she wants. Melissa is a translator and an administrative assistant at Hazleton Housing Authority. But, when she isn’t working, she is still working. Melissa is currently starting her own business as a property owner where she plans to be a landlord. Melissa demonstrates time management and organizational skills daily as she is in this season of life.

Melissa was born and raised in New York City. Growing up, she described herself as naive. Looking back now, she said she realizes that she grew up in what many children grow up in today – poverty. Despite this, her mother and father did their best to make sure that she and her ten siblings were well taken care of and as happy as they could be.

Over the years, Melissa has had numerous jobs, ranging from working at a retail store called Treasure Hunt to working as a paraprofessional. She has also done a number of volunteer projects in an attempt to help the people around her, including organizing a cancer walk and volunteering in homeless shelters.

When Melissa was 19, she moved from New York to Hazleton. She and a group of friends moved here together, and she began taking classes at Luzerne County Community College. Eventually, she transferred to Lackawanna College in Hazleton and completed a degree in criminal justice.

Currently, Melissa works as a translator and administrative assistant for the Hazleton Housing Authorities. In addition to this, she recently just started a real estate business which she is currently in the process of opening. Melissa says that she has loved and enjoyed doing both jobs. While she looks forward to being able to create more housing in the city of Hazleton, she also loves what she does now which is help people who are already housed.

When talking with Melissa about creating housing, something she emphasized was that she wanted to help families and create an affordable option for many who do not have this right now. She described this as being the biggest issue in the Hazleton Area, something many could agree on.

While Melissa did not grow up around here, she said that she loves the area and could see herself living here for a long time. She says that the community being fostered here is beautiful and she wishes to continue being a part of it.

As Melissa moves forward with her business, she is a great reminder to many that life is short, the same way one day is. So, whether it is a business or a dream we think about, we should run after our goals. We shouldn’t let “I hope…” become “I wish…”

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