Hello Happy (Community-Minded) Mama: Maggie Cushine
by Callie Collins
Jun 27, 2024
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Hello Happy Mama Contest

When Maggie Cushine moved to Bakersfield in 1985 to play softball at California State University, Bakersfield, she could not have known then what an impact she and her future family would make on the community. “I fell in love with the city and its people. Bakersfield still has a great small-town feel. My husband and I would go places around town and see who ran into someone we knew first, and then it expanded to include my two adult children, Mickey and Mackenzie, who are involved with the community now,” she said. 

Maggie has been director of Grants Management and Program Facilitation at Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern for more than 15 years. She worked formerly as a resource development manager for CASA of Kern County, in addition to leading family volunteer efforts alongside her children throughout their childhood. 

Maggie’s husband, Michael, is a Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) teacher in the Panama Buena Vista Union School District and a CSUB sports announcer. He is perhaps best known, however, as the host of local TV show “Do The Math.”

“I have a great family who is always there for me when I need a hug, to vent, or to go do something fun, but we are very busy,” said Maggie. 

Son Mickey, 28, leads a similar professional life: he is also a teacher in the Panama Buena Vista Union School District, a sports announcer for CSUB and a host for “Do The Math.” He is president of the Bakersfield Marathon. Mickey and his wife, Alejandra, are expecting their first child this month, Maggie and Michael’s first grandchildren.

Daughter Mackenzie, 26, works in digital television media production with KETN/Kern County Superintendent of Schools. Additionally, she volunteers as a photographer for local non-profits, including the Junior League of Bakersfield, Boys & Girls Clubs of Kern County and the Bakersfield Museum of Art. 

That sense of connection to community has been so important to the Cushine family, through their individual involvement in schools, charitable organizations. “I am always amazed at the number of nonprofits in our community. Volunteering is a great way to meet new people and get involved, and it is also a way for children to learn about their community and help others. Both my children have volunteered since they were little,” said Maggie. “We did it together with the hope that they would volunteer on their own as adults and that’s what has happened.”

Q&A: Three questions and answers with Maggie Cushine

1. We often talk with mothers in phases of life that can seem lonely or isolating, especially as they raise young children. Now from a different vantage point as the mother of adult children, what advice do you have for respite and renewal for women going through that phase of life?

Maggie’s message: It gets better. 

The big thing about having adult children is the freedom to renew when I need it. I can binge-watch k-dramas [Korean TV shows and movies] (Mackenzie got me hooked), immerse myself in a romance novel (I love my Kindle), pull weeds in the garden, volunteer in the community or just go shopping without having to check everyone’s schedules. If my husband and I want to run away for the day or the weekend, we can, or if Mackenzie and I need to go on a girls' trip, we can. I am lucky that both of my adult children are still living in Bakersfield, so we meet up at the movies or go to dinner for a quick check-in, which is way cool. 

2. What's something others would never guess upon meeting you?

 I was a softball pitcher in the past and my team at CSUB won two National championships. 

3. What is your parenting PSA?

As parents, Mike and I always wanted to keep our children busy (so they couldn’t get into trouble) and support their passions, so they were always involved in extracurricular activities, be it sports, learning the trumpet or piano, becoming a photographer, learning to ride a horse, becoming a pilot at 16 or getting their first jobs with the Bakersfield Blaze or the “Do The Math Show” when they were 15. 

Bonus tip: Chalkboard-painted kitchen cabinet doors really helped keep track of everyone’s schedules. Mike and I still use them to help us keep track of our week.

Fill-in-the-blank questions
  • I'm always laughing at… My family's antics. 
  • The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is… Check my emails, and my schedule for the day and then go for a walk with my husband. 
  • Today, the strangest thing in my purse is… A deck of cards. You never know when you need to pass the time.
  • My favorite food is… Chile verde anything.
  • My favorite dessert is… Yellow cake with chocolate frosting.
  • In my pantry, you will always find… I don’t know. I don’t really cook but Mike makes sure I have chicken noodle soup available, as I love it for breakfast. 
  • Before I go out, I always make sure I have… My cellphone with me (which is also my wallet).
  • The best book I've read lately is…  The “Bridgerton” series.
  • So far, my best life advice is… To always look for the other side of a story or the rest of the story (looking at the situation with a positive lens) before making a decision or judgment. 

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