Through our Meet the Family series, we will introduce a new Upper Ninety staff member so you can get to know us better. First up: volunteer superstar, Alejandro Avellana!
Q: How did you get involved with Upper Ninety?
Back in January, 2018, Upper Ninety had a fundraising event listed on the website Do512. I browse that site looking for events in and around Austin and the organization's mission stood out to me. I decided to get involved and contacted Kaitlin.
Q: What do you do as a volunteer?
As a volunteer, my main responsibilities involve helping players check in, set up the field/equipment, and assist with ad-hoc tasks such as rounding up students, participating in Team Circle, drills, scrimmages, etc. This semester I've also taken on some responsibilities with visualizing Upper Ninety's student survey and other data.
Q: What’s your favorite part about volunteering with Upper Ninety?
Apart from getting to play soccer regularly, I really enjoy seeing the players open up during Team Circle. During Circle, we all have the opportunity to talk through issues going on in our lives and reflect on important topics. It is a great way to connect with the students on a more personal level and, even as a facilitator, I regularly learn more about myself by participating.
Q: Tell us about where you come from!
I’m originally from San Antonio, Texas and come from a Spanish speaking household. My mother is the daughter of Cuban refugees and my father emigrated to the US from Mexico after marrying my mom. A good part of my life growing up revolved around playing soccer and it forms a common thread in many of my closest friends over the years.
Q. How do you feel about working with a nonprofit?
In a word, fulfilled. Upper Ninety gives me the amazing opportunity to give back to the local Austin community doing something I love in playing soccer. The students often remind me of myself and the friends I grew up with so I really enjoy being a positive influence in the lives of people growing along similar paths as I did.
Q: Any last words for your fans?
I love being a part of the Upper Ninety family!