This Family Gives a Yarn
In honor of Family Volunteer Day, Nov. 23, Points of Light and Disney are recognizing families with the Daily Point of Light Award. Meet today's winning family, the Camposes of California, and nomimate someone in your community.
Years ago, Javier and Lori Campos of Burbank, Calif., promised themselves they would teach their two daughters, Amanda and Alexis, the value of community service. But they wanted to wait until both girls were old enough so they could volunteer as a family.
“We wanted to be good role models for the girls, letting them know we help in the community and teaching them the importance of doing the same,” says Lori.
For the past six years, starting when younger daughter Alexis turned 5, the family has been involved in numerous projects, serving people at home and abroad. Javier, who works full time as a machinist, joins in whenever possible. But it’s difficult to keep up with Lori, who works part time and sets an ambitious volunteer schedule for herself and the daughters.
Lori, Amanda, now 24, and Alexis, now 11, are most actively involved in Disney Blanketeers, a project of Disney’s VoluntEARS program. For three years, the Campos family women have volunteered weekly to knit and crochet everything from blankets for children, warm hats for the homeless and for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and scarves for U.S. military personnel deployed around the world.
Two years ago, Lori founded a branch of Disney Blanketeers in nearby Glendale, and the group is already 80 members strong.
“Javier doesn’t knit or crochet, but he sure pays for the yarn,” jokes Lori. “Blanketeers is my favorite activity. You can only knit so many things for friends and family, and it’s nice to have a creative outlet to help people in need.”
For the past three years, the entire family has participated in an annual river cleanup sponsored by Friends of the L.A. River, and for four years they’ve volunteered on Coastal Cleanup Day. They’ve also helped out each year at a local food pantry on Family Volunteer Day.
“Personally, the L.A. river cleanup is the most fun for me,” says Alexis. “It’s important to protect animals and the environment, and it feels really great to know that I’m helping. I think more people should work to help the environment.”
When she was only 7, Alexis got the family involved in yet another service project. After discovering she had a knack for design, Alexis began coloring placemats. Each year, she donates her creative output to Meals On Wheels, which distributes the placemats to the elderly.
Amanda, who is now a middle school science teacher, began her community service career while in high school, volunteering to participate in outings with an adult special needs group. She admits that today, as a full-time teacher, she has trouble keeping pace with her mom’s volunteer schedule.
“She keeps me active,” says Amanda. “My mom is really the heart and backbone of our volunteer work. She’s definitely a motivator, and I feel that she gives so much of her time that I can give a little bit of mine.”
Lori adds: “I’ll keep volunteering forever. When I was growing up, we had some rough spots, and people were there for us. I always remember that, and I want to keep giving back.”