Alma Cortez-Hill, at twelve years old, has volunteered for more than half of her life with people of all ages, but primarily the elderly, through her church, the Girl Scouts and on her own.
While volunteering with her mother when she was three years old, Alma learned about the needs of senior citizens who did not have children in their lives. She understood then, as she does now, the importance and positive effect of the relationship between children and their grandparents. She shares this understanding through an ongoing relationship with the elderly.
One of her first community service activities was the sponsorship of a family in crisis. With limited resources, Alma collected and donated gifts to the family in the form of clothing, food and toys.
Alma's commitment to the elderly started at the age of four when she began volunteering with South Austin Senior Support Services (SASSS). She made decorations and gifts for the participants of SASSS's congregate meals and visited with them. Once she joined the Lone Star Girl Scout Council, Troop 853, she introduced the troop to the seniors and encouraged them to volunteer with her. Since 1992, Troop 853 has provided gifts, decorations, entertainment, and served meals to more than 100 participants for SASSS's special events and activities. In addition, Alma continues to work with seniors on her own: after school, during breaks and throughout the summer.
Another project that Alma has encouraged her troop to be a part of is The Salvation Army's Holiday Angel Tree Project, which provides assistance to more than 5,000 children in need of clothing, food and financial contributions. The girls participate in all facets of the project, from educating holiday shoppers about The Salvation Army and Angel Tree to walking them through the process of sponsoring a child by donating gifts.
Since 1995, Alma has volunteered for the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN), a support ministry for families who are in crisis or homeless. Through St. Mary's Cathedral, the Lone Star Girl Scout Council and IHN, she has prepared food and refreshments, childcare, and entertainment for families that are supported through this social ministry.
It is the knowledge that one person can make a difference that keeps Alma motivated to serve.