Kids inspiring kids… What would Adventurous Lexa do?
When she was 11, Alexandra Pereira decided she wanted to do something inspiring. “I decided that I would have a platform on the importance of volunteering,” said the now-15-year-old New Jersey teen.
Because she loved giving back at her local animal shelter, Alexandra wanted to convince even younger kids that volunteering is not just important, but super fun and exciting.
So with the help of her mom Brenda, this IJM Miss Northern NJ Jr. Teen 2016 wrote and self-published a book called Adventurous Lexa. She also formed a Facebook club by the same name, a clearing house for local volunteer opportunities geared to inspire her peers to get involved.
“I knew I wanted to reach out to younger kids, but I didn’t want to just bore them with lectures,” said Alexandra. That’s where her alter ego Lexa hits the stage. The book tells the story of a plucky girl who enlists the help of her friends to keep the local animal shelter from closing its doors. How do they do it? Why, by having a pet fashion show, of course.
“I read to the kids and when they see the pictures of the cats and dogs dressed up in little outfits, they just love it,” she said. Her story has inspired even little ones to volunteer to do everything from helping at the local shelter to walk for a favorite charity or send Christmas cards to soldiers.
“Volunteering is just so much fun and it brings joy to the person who volunteers. I don’t think kids always realize that,” said Alexandra, who recalls the fun of learning to make blankets for kids with cancer. “It’s not only giving back, but you make others happy and yourself too,” she said.
Volunteering is something you can do in your own backyard, or anywhere in the world, added the teen. On a recent family trip to Portugal, it was Alexandra’s idea to visit a local orphanage for the day. “Our whole family went and we donated some things and played with the kids,” she recalled. “Me and my mom were thinking that every time you go on a vacation, there is a chance to volunteer. It’s my passion.”