Children's Institute, Inc.

Volunteer: Maria Orellana

Children's Institute, Inc. (CII) works to transform the lives of children exposed to adversity and poverty in Los Angeles. 

Maria Orellana began volunteering at CII in her daughter’s classroom where she helps teachers with tasks such as setting up meals, cleaning the classroom, and facilitating lessons and activities. In addition to being an excellent addition in CII classrooms, Maria joined the Classroom Parent Committee as an Alternate Policy Council Representative. Through her service, Maria has become essential to teachers in CII classrooms. In addition to meeting all of her volunteer responsibilities, Maria consistently goes above and beyond in supporting and uplifting teachers, parents, and students. For parents, Maria decided to translate Parent Meetings and present all of the information in Spanish to ensure that it is accessible for all families. She enhanced the classroom experience by coming in to do classroom and playground cleanups twice a week to make sure spaces were neat and safe for all of the children. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Maria has made herself available to bring meals, supplies, and lesson materials to families that do not have transportation to get to the site. Maria’s unique thoughtfulness and incredible work ethic have had an immeasurable impact on CII's South Vermont Early Childhood Education site. Maria fosters a school community where folks look out, advocate, and care for one another. She has helped make an incredibly special, caring community at the South Vermont School and CII is eternally grateful for all of her time, energy, and care.