The newest volunteer for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Elkhart County is a former Nappanee Club member. Liliana Lomeli, 19, just graduated from NorthWood High School and is taking part in the AmeriCorps Project ACES program.
Lomeli was a Club member from the time she was 6 years old until she was 14. That’s when the very busy student’s studying and extra-curricular activities made regular Club attendance difficult. But she never lost that connection with her friends in Nappanee. During her freshman year of high school, she returned as a volunteer.
“Mandy (Gerber, Nappanee area director) knew I volunteered so she presented me with the AmeriCorps opportunity to take advantage of the stipend and college scholarship,” Lomeli said.
As a volunteer member of the team, she will be helping with the summer education program, concentrating on reading and retention, so kids are ready to head back to school in the fall.
Lomeli says joining the team was an easy decision.
“I remember staff members who impacted me. They definitely instilled confidence in me. Kids need people to believe in them before they believe in themselves,” she said.
Lomeli says she knew from her experience at Club that she could excel in her new role, and she’s using her Club experience to have a positive impact on the younger members.
“The motto ‘Great Futures Start Here’ has been reflected in my life. Club presented me opportunities to go on field trips and play sports,” she said. “I think my purpose in life is to help others and help my community. That’s what I’m called to do.”
She plans to take that calling even further in the fall. Lomeli will attend Saint Mary’s College with a major in political science and a minor in international business and Spanish. Her goal is to go to law school after college.
Lomeli will once again draw from personal experience to put her education to good use. Her mother is from Bremen and her father is from Mexico. She says she’s traveled many times to her father’s hometown.
“I would love to be a government ambassador to see how many people I can help. I want to merge the two communities I am blessed to be involved in,” she said.
She also wants to be a role model for those who follow her.
“I want other girls like me to see what is possible.”