Meet Mentor and Supporter Maya

She’s the owner and founder of America’s #1 Black-Owned Gourmet Vegan Cookie Company, Maya’s Cookies, a group mentor for Guardian Scholars, and a Foodies 4 Foster Kids partner.

She’s a dedicated and passionate mentor who also leads a full personal life – married, and mother of three who enjoys cooking, exercise, listening to podcasts, and traveling.

As part of Maya’s Cookies’ mission statement: “Maya’s Cookies is committed to superior customer service and community engagement, with a focus on youth and underserved communities.” Since joining us about a year ago, we are happy to report that she also walks the walk!

After meeting CEO, Tonya Torosian, at an event, she found a personal affinity with our work. Maya began life in the foster care system, something she hasn’t lost sight of as she continues to thrive.

I was so impressed with the mission of the organization as well as the programming and resources Promises2Kids offers for the youth. I immediately applied to become a mentor. From leadership on down everyone I have interacted with has been amazing and truly passionate and work together to build brighter futures for the children in the foster care system.”

Since then, we’ve found a true champion of our cause in Maya. She joined the Guardian Scholars Black Group, which meets monthly. Through mentoring, she found that she had much to share through her experience and success, both with entrepreneurship and in her personal life.

The core of her philosophy towards mentorship is simple – you can’t be it if you can’t see it.

“I am a CEO and Founder of a successful business, come from an underserved community, started my life in the foster system and did not attend college.  I want to be representation for those that may see themselves in me.”

Most importantly, Maya understands the value of mentoring. Her experience on both sides of the dynamic has prepared her to show up in just the right way for Guardian Scholars.

“I have several mentors that have helped me throughout my journey as an entrepreneur and I rely on them for emotional support to this day.  A mentor is someone who genuinely cares about your success and will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.”

In the words of one of the students in the group:

“She has taught me about entrepreneurship and the responsibilities and outcomes of owning a business. This has really impacted me because I want to eventually own a business, and hearing from someone who comes from the same background is amazing and motivational.” – Guardian Scholar Datayia

For Maya, it’s the relationships she’s made through the group and the organization that matter, “We have laughed, cried, break bread, celebrate milestones together and are able to be vulnerable without judgment.  Mostly….we laugh!”

Maya’s Cookies is also one of our 39 Foodies 4 Foster Kids partners this year. It was a fit that almost made too much sense for her.

“We have 2 retail locations (San Diego and San Marcos) and ship nationwide at  Our cookies are handmade with the highest quality premium ingredients and when possible, we try to source our ingredients from BIPOC brands. Maya’s Cookies offers classic flavors such as Chocolate Chip and Snickerdoodle but also have fun forward thinking on-trend flavors such as Ube, Matcha White Chocolate, Brown Sugar Butterscotch and Whiskey Caramel Pecan. Maya’s Cookies also works in the community as an employee partner providing jobs and life skills to individuals coming out of homelessness, incarceration and drug addiction.”

Community engagement is an ever-present priority.

Our customers know that we are a business that gives back to the community, and they get behind us when we participate in campaigns like Foodies 4 Foster Kids! They show up!”

You can support Maya’s Cookies and San Diego’s foster children at the same time by visiting her locations or website through the end of May, National Foster Care Month.

When asked for some parting words, Maya kept it simple:

“Be sincere and genuine about your intentions and consider mentoring!… It takes a village.”