Written by Carolyn Greco, City of Dublin Volunteer
Ani hangs back from the crowded table of children drawing. He picks up a crayon and traces his hand to make a turkey. Kids as young as two years old and seniors fill Avondale Senior Cottages’ hospitality room on this cold November Saturday.
Most of the seniors drink coffee and eat donuts around a large conference table at one end of the large living space. Many children, along with a handful of parents, volunteers, and one or two residents sit at tables decorating Thanksgiving placemats and thank you cards.
The colorful cards will be sent to veterans for Operation Buckeye, a nonprofit that supplies overseas military with toiletries, snacks, and notes from home. As the children filed in they filled a large storage tub with Halloween candy to be sent overseas, too.
One frail resident pushing a walker says, “I just love seeing the kids!!”
The K.I.D.S. Leader is 15-year-old Coffman sophomore, and Dublin volunteer, Anirudh Halkatti.
“I’m always quiet when I meet new people,” he offers, “until I get to know them. I recognize some of the other kids who have been here, too.”
Though it is only his second Saturday volunteering at Avondale, the unassuming teen has been helping out for more than a year. He says he likes understanding the social needs in his community and being able to help out.
Ani’s favorite task was assisting young children to plant saplings at the Red Trabue Nature Park for Earth Day.
“We dug the hole, put the tree in and covered it up,” he said. “I really enjoyed meeting new people, understanding the value of helping younger kids, making an impact to my community and the environment –even if it is in a small way.”
Ani can also be found every Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Wee Folk Room at the Dublin Community Recreation Center entertaining kids while their caregivers use the facility. He is especially adept playing video games like Minecraft, helping with artwork and playing with toys with the youngsters.
“I like fun activities and working with children. It fits my personality. It also allows me to be a role model and to give back to my community, and gain insight about myself and discover my passions.”
The Volunteer Spotlight series shines a light on the City of Dublin’s valued volunteers. To recommend a deserving volunteer, or to inquire about volunteer opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.