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Lead With Your Heart is part of American Girls’ new line of contemporary characters called World by Us. This new line is designed to celebrate diversity, shine a light on important social issues, and inspire today’s girls to help create a better world. New character Maritza Ochoa, comes to life and emphasizes the importance of friendship, respect, fairness and inclusion.
Maritza (pronounced Mah-reet-zah) Ochoa is Bolivian on her mother’s side. Mexican on her father’s side, and 100 percent American soccer player. She dreams of playing for the US women’s soccer team, and even coaching it someday. Her soccer teammate, Violeta, shares those dreams, too, but for her they are harder to reach. Violeta’s family immigrated to the United States from El Salvador, and now her uncle may be sent back there, far away from his US family. Without the money he earns and the love and support he provides, the family is in distress.
Maritza believes families belong together, and that she must find a way to help. Together with her friends Makena and Evette, Maritza makes a plan that will help Violeta’s family. The girls embrace the Spanish saying, tu lucha es mi lucha–your fight is my fight. With her friends cheering her on, Maritza finds the courage to lead with her heart.