Xenia Llamas has an impressive background in volunteering and she is only 17 years old. Nominated by Family and Children’s Agency, Xenia is a former participant in FCA's ASPIRE program where she now volunteers. She credits the staff at ASPIRE for being there for her and acting as a second family. She said if there was anything she needed, they were always there for her. This program made such an impact on Xenia, she wanted to give back so she became a volunteer this year. She spends at least one afternoon a week tutoring middle school students through ASPIRE. I am thrilled to honor Xenia as our May Volunteer of the Month.
When I spoke with Xenia she shared that she has always had a passion for working with children and hopes to double major in education and psychology when she attends college. She shared that most of her experience up to this point has been with younger students. She’s been a first-grade religion teacher at St. Joseph’s Church in Norwalk since freshman year and she was an assistant teacher to 3rd graders in middle school. During her time at ASPIRE this year, she’s starting to gain more experience with middle school students and she said it’s very different. “I relate to the middle school students in a different way, they know a little more because they are older and we are able to have conversations and I feel I can help them with theirs lives.”
Xenia is a junior at Lauralton Hall in Milford where community service is a large focus for all students. She told me that she loves being a student at Lauralton and really appreciates how the teachers and staff empower women to go into the community and give back. One of her favorite things service projects to participate in at school is the once a month dress down for a good cause day. Students pay $2 to wear whatever they like and the money goes to support a cause chosen by each classroom at the end of the year. In addition to her service work at school, she’s in the choir and last year she was a member of the art club.
When asked why she feels it’s important to give back to her community she said she likes to make a difference and do things for other people. Her reward is seeing them smile. “Volunteering really affects you, as the volunteer, it makes you feel better about yourself knowing that you are helping others.” Xenia maintains that if you want something nice to be done for you, you need to give back to your community in return. She credits all those who’ve had a positive impact on her life and helped her. An example she shared was about a family friend encouraged her to begin teaching religion classes in 6th grade, even though she was very shy. She stepped outside of her comfort zone, something she’s not sure she would have done without the encouragement. Now she feels more confident speaking in front of her class and with the students she tutors.
On behalf of Volunteer Square and Family and Children's Agency, we want to thank Xenia for her outstanding service to the communities in Fairfield County and for inspiring others to give back to their community too. Congratulations, Xenia!