When Talia Schmitt was a student at Woodson High School (Class of 2013), she became interested in community service. This interest led her to browse the Volunteer Fairfax website where she connected and joined the VF Youth Advisory Board (YAB). Through her time in YAB, Talia says she bonded with kids from other high schools, students from Madison, Chantilly, and Herndon, whom she would never have met otherwise. Not only did friendships form and service projects were accomplished, Talia says, “What I learned as part of my experience with Volunteer Fairfax’s Youth Advisory Board set me on my path of continued volunteerism!”
We met Talia again January 2018 when she arrived at a VF family volunteer day with her parents. Even as a busy college senior at William and Mary College, Talia found the time and energy for service when back home in Fairfax County. That is when we learned her story, the genesis, and the continuation, and maturation of her volunteerism.
Since graduation from Woodson, Talia has become even more engaged! Talia enrolled at The College of William and Mary to pursue a degree in Environmental Community Health while co-founding Eco-Schools Leadership Initiative (ESLI), a state-wide organization dedicated to environmental education. As part of that effort, Talia helped to plan Fairfax County’s first-ever Environmental Conference. This FREE 1-day conference has become an annual event (June) where high school and college students learn to how to teach environmental education so they are able to share information in their communities. “Miraculously it worked…” Talia says with regard to the conference goals.
Talia really enjoys visiting schools and teaching kids about the environment. She leads hand-on activities and plays games to make learning fun. While teaching the important concepts of climate change and recycling and stream clean up, Talia has developed many valuable skills including meeting planning, public speaking, how to write a lesson plan, classroom management, leadership, community partnerships, marketing and communications.
Congratulations Talia on your graduation from William and Mary in May 2018! And, on all of your accomplishments and community impact. Volunteer Fairfax is proud to have been part of your story and we look forward to your next chapter! Stay in touch!
Learn more about the Eco-Schools Leadership Initiative and Conference. The 2018 ESLI Conference will be held Saturday, June 21 at the National Wildlife Federation in Reston, VA. Hurry to register.
Take a listen! Youth volunteers interviewed by Volunteer Fairfax on iHeart Radio here, June 2018.
Feeling inspired? To get your teens, tweens and school-age children involved in service, visit www.volunteerfairfax.org.