In the fall of 2011, Jennifer Zambrano rolled into Kids Club on a regular basis to pick up her two younger siblings. Due to her level of maturity and the way she carried herself, it didn’t take Casa Chirilagua staff long to notice this poised 15 year old. When she picked up her siblings she would inquire of their progress and behavior and at times would offer up her own insights about how to handle them based on her interactions with them at home. It became very clear that Jennifer was responsible, patient, observant, helpful, supportive and cared very deeply for the academic success of her brother and sister. As the Casa Chirilagua staff took interest in this impressive young lady we found out that she is a stellar student at T.C. Williams High School, an avid soccer player and enjoys working with kids. This young lady was a future Casa Chiri volunteer, role model and leader in the making. It didn’t take long to enlist Jennifer in the Kids Club volunteer ranks. She very quickly became a regular and a part of the Kids Club family. About a month after Jennifer began volunteering with Kids Club, Brenda Polio (Kids Club Assistant Director) said to Jennifer, “You better watch out. Casa Chirilagua will suck you in. It will change your life.” To which Jennifer responded, “It already has. I can’t believe this place. My brother is a different person here and I have learned so much about working with kids from watching the staff and volunteers interact with my siblings.” We are so thankful for Jennifer’s investment at Kids Club and have learned and gained much from her as her positive presence and smile enriches our lives.
We haven’t seen Jennifer as frequently since springbreak due to soccer and the year end academic scramble. However, we look forward to seeing more of her this summer. Due to her dedication and contribution to Kids Club and her on-going investment in her siblings, we name Jennifer Zambrano, the May 2012 Casa Chirilagua volunteer of the month.