KidWorks May “Volunteer of the Month” Areli Pelaxtla clearly has boundless energy.
Anyone who works with preschoolers—as Areli has been doing since last summer—knows that first hand.
Yet, on top of keeping up with our ever-curious and perpetually in-motion youngest students as an intern and volunteer in our state-licensed preschool, Areli also holds down two part-time jobs (one at a bank and the other at a department store) while attending California State University, Dominguez Hills as a junior majoring in Human Services.
“The preschoolers keep me motivated because of their personalities and the excitement they bring to each day,” Areli says. “It’s always something new with them. Seeing the children’s progress since the beginning to the end of a school year makes everything rewarding because you know that all the hard work you put in through the year was worth it.”
Our volunteer of the month grew up in a low-income community and saw first-hand “the struggles we faced that made me want to advocate for those in need.”
“Areli has helped us in so many ways,” says Idalia Galdamez, Preschool Director. “You’ll find her in one-on-one and group settings, always eager to help. That includes prepping materials for workshops, calling parents to remind them of meetings/workshops/special events and assisting with data entry. She’s truly passionate about sharing her KidWorks experience with others. Word is getting out that our volunteers are given real hands on experience in our programs. This semester we were so grateful to see more Human Services college students volunteering.”
Adds Sonia Rios-Guzman, Parent Engagement Coordinator, “Areli has been an excellent intern who always comes in full of energy, with a great attitude, a smile on her face and ready to make a difference in the lives of our students, parents, staff and other interns/volunteers.”
Areli says our preschoolers constantly fill her heart with joy.
“Once, during free time, a little girl asked, ‘Teacher, will you play with me?’,” Areli recalls. “When free time ended, she said, ‘I miss you when you’re not here.’ To hear the student say that made me feel special not only because she noticed when I am not there, but it made me realize that as a volunteer I am able to directly impact a student.”
In her spare time—what little there is of it!—Areli enjoys arts and crafts, going to Disneyland, exploring museums and trying out new ice cream flavors. Her current favorite? That would be coffee-flavored.
If you see Areli serving in our preschool, please be sure to congratulate her on being named May Volunteer of the Month.
By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer