When she was 12, Xiomara wasn’t content to just watch her older brother volunteer at the Pasadena Educational Foundation (PEF) without her. So the summer before her freshman year of high school, she decided to volunteer there.
“[My brother’s] amazing experience along with the fact that my volunteering would impact other people positively inspired me to become involved,” says Xiomara.
After that, she was hooked. Now 16 and a high school senior, over the past four years Xiomara has logged over 500 volunteer hours, 130 in the last year alone, and she is showing no signs of slowing down.
Xiomara spends a lot of her free time volunteering. During the summer she volunteers with PEF and Arcadia Methodist Hospital. During the school year she stays involved through her high school’s Key Club, National Honor Society and Unidos Club.
In her eyes, no act of volunteerism is too small. “Even tiny things like Campus Beautification Day where [students] spend a few hours cleaning up the campus makes a big difference in how the community, as well as the students and staff, perceive the school. [My] main motivator is the fact that my continued service makes a difference in the lives of other people, no matter how small it might seem.”
Xiomara is changing lives through her volunteering, but she says her experiences change her life as well.
“My favorite part about giving back, is that in so doing I am receiving something as well… I was profoundly impacted when I was volunteering at Arcadia Methodist Hospital and I was talking to patient while refilling her water,” she said.
“She asked me where I went to school and what I wanted to be and other questions along that line. When I told her I wanted to be a General Surgeon, she pulled out the card of her General Surgeon and handed it to me. I didn’t quite expect that but the kind gesture really stuck with me.”
As Xiomara enters her senior year of high school, she hopes to continue her impact by embodying the very change she hopes to create.
“I truly do not know what the future holds, but I know that whatever I choose I want to ‘be the change I wish to see in the world,’ as Gandhi said.”
We hope Xiomara inspires you and your family to give back to your community, too.