We asked you to tell us about inspiring women in your life. We’ve gone through hundreds of nominations in our Remarkable Women contest. Now we share the stories of our finalists.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — A former art teacher and fifth-generation Austinite, Emma Lea Mayton has dedicated her life to faith, family, her students and those less fortunate. She is one of KXAN’s Outstanding Women finalists due to her passion for helping people.
Emma’s connection to this land began decades ago when she was a child and played with her siblings and cousins and often ran around. Today, Mayton volunteers with the nonprofit Pioneer Farms, helping to preserve the Central Texas gem located northeast of Austin.
“It’s my latest volunteer passion,” said Mayton, whose most recent project was painting fence legs that line the setting in this snapshot of our Central Texas history. Pioneer Farms’ mission is to help people understand what Texas was like in the 19th century through a “living history” experience.
The scope of his helping others extends beyond Pioneer Farms. She has influenced hundreds of children throughout her 35 years of teaching art and art history.
“In 3rd year, I decided at age 8 that I wanted to be an art teacher,” she said. She continued to do just that, including helping children with special needs.
“Elementary was my favorite because they’re so creative and unrestricted. You see other people doing things they never thought they could do,” she said.
Mayton incorporated her love of travel into her teaching and often reflected on her experiences in other countries around the world to inspire an art lesson.
Beyond teaching, Mayton has worked for social justice causes and dedicated her life to caring for underprivileged children as well as needy and homeless women.
“I’m just an ordinary person doing ordinary things,” she said.
She recently finished working on murals with two youth groups and helped raise thousands of dollars for “Empowering Women out of Prison” and “Hope Food Pantry,” to name a few. She continues to fundraise for students in need.
As for Pioneer Farms, Mayton says it will soon start clearing flowerbeds and trimming shrubbery.
“I’m just going to keep doing the things that I love,” Mayton said.