Volunteers like Elias Herrera-Hernandez are so important to Asbury Woods. Volunteers help maintain our 205 acres of property and, like Elias, offer friendly faces at our events. Elias is a busy ninth-grader at McDowell Intermediate High School who frequently volunteers with us.
Elias attended Scary Creature Feature in 2019 with his mom Gaby, dad Elias and two little brothers, Alonso and Damian. His interaction with the tour guide, a high school senior at the time, prompted him to look into volunteer opportunities at Asbury Woods. “I signed up for the next festival, Winter Wonderland. It was at this festival that some of my favorite memories of my volunteer time occurred, like operating the trains and talking to some of the visitors about their favorite Christmas memories,” said Herrera.
His after-school schedule is full. He plays the bass in the orchestra, runs for the cross country and track and field team, and participates in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.
In addition to the after-school activities, he also finds time to volunteer, “I’ve volunteered for several different organizations, like the Westlake PTA, the McDowell PTSA, the Erie Airport, but mostly with Asbury Woods. I like to take any volunteering opportunities that come my way,” said Herrera.
Nature is something that is grounding for Herrera and reminds him to appreciate the small things. “I love nature because, outside of our busy and bustling lives, it reminds me of how beautiful the small moments are, like a beautiful autumn leaf hanging from a tree branch, or a small, but life-sustaining creek running through the woods,” said Herrera.
He has big plans for after high school. Once he graduates, Herrera plans to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. After his military service is over, he’d love to play for a world-renowned orchestra, like the Montreal Symphony or the Berlin Philharmonic. In his spare time, he enjoys reading (especially classic novels), playing guitar and bass, listening to music, and running at Brown’s Farm.
Herrera volunteers to give back to his community noting, “...the more I volunteer my service to my community, the more I feel like I am a part of it, and the better I feel with myself because my philosophy is that if the community gives to you, you should also give to the community”.
You can give back to your community by volunteering at Asbury Woods. We have opportunities for all ages. Please contact Sheila Walmer at email@example.com or at 814-836-6176 visit the Get Involved section of our website at www.asburywoods.org.