Standing tall: Liz Castillo stands against the backdrop of the artwork she created.
“I am a person of few words,” says Liz, when we asked her to share her volunteer experience with LCNV. Meet LCNV Volunteer, Liz Castillo.
As a volunteer, Liz provides office and administrative assistance. For LCNV's Annual Recognition Event, which celebrates the successes of learners, Liz created the beautiful backdrop for the event bulletin themed, ‘When I Learn English, My Community Grows.’ "It was so much fun to be given the task of creating a bulletin board to display the learners’ writings," says Liz. Liz gained an understanding and confidence in drawing and painting during her teaching years at Kenmore Middle School, and, "that in a big way helped me create the bulletin board," she says.
“Liz’s artistic ability and creative energy have been remarked upon by all who have seen the beautiful murals/ backdrops she painted in two of our James Lee site classrooms. Her work truly is a labor of love and she is an asset to our LCNV team,” says LCNV Volunteer Coordinator Rudo Meda.
Liz holds a Master’s degree in Education, with specialization in Childhood Education, and served as a sixth grade teacher for 36 years. She recently retired from Kenmore Middle School, an arts and communications technology focused school in Arlington. Liz says she loves the work that goes into preparing, planning and creating student curriculum, and hence, although she does not want to get into classroom teaching, she is excited about her latest assignment at LCNV of helping organize the teaching materials. These resources will be made available to all LCNV faculty.
"Liz is such a versatile contributor to LCNV’s programs. She is gung-ho to work on any project. Not only does hard or challenging work not deter her, but Liz relishes it, deriving great satisfaction from working on long or complicated projects requiring a lot of planning, mental or physical exertion," says Rudo.
In addition to volunteering at LCNV, Liz has been volunteering at INOVA Fairfax Hospital for the last three years. At INOVA Hospital, she works at the gift shop and at the nursery unit. She loves working in the nursery, where she helps with keeping the shelves filled, giving babies their first baths, bottle feedings, changing diapers, and cuddling. "My most gratifying experience at INOVA has been interacting with patients, visitors, and nurses," says Liz.
A good planner and organizer, Liz wanted to put her professional teaching skills to good use serving the community. "So I decided to make a connection with LCNV. This is our community and LCNV is a great place to use your talents and skills to improve our community and make a difference in the lives of many people, including yours," says Liz.
Giving back to the community through active volunteering has been a tradition in Liz's household. In fact, about 30-years ago, Liz's mother volunteered at LCNV. Liz’s mother tutored a student for several years and also created a library for the curriculum material back then.
"LCNV is very welcoming to me," says Liz, adding, "Literacy is a skill that opens many doors. There are many talented, intelligent, capable people who can become more successful in their lives with a better understanding of the literacy skills."
Photo: Liz with Volunteer Coordinator Rudo Meda.