The Alexandria Commission for Women has recognized Isabella Lovain, a T.C. Williams High School senior, with a Salute to Women Youth Community Services Award for the significant impact that her volunteer service has had on the women and girls of Alexandria. Lovain, a student representative on the School Board, was one of a dozen women and businesses honored in a ceremony last week.
Lovain comes from a volunteering family — her parents met at what is now Volunteer Alexandria. She and her two younger siblings have volunteered with her parents as a family activity. In her sophomore year, Lovain began to explore volunteer opportunities on her own.
It felt really meaningful to get involved in the community and meet amazing groups of people in Alexandria,” said Lovain.
At about the same time she began volunteering, she became interested in theater and began volunteering through Art Stream. Each week she worked with adult actors with intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders. In addition to the volunteer service, Lovain liked the consistency of working with the same group of adults and volunteers each week and the friendships she developed as a result. It’s also what drew her to making and serving breakfast on Thursday mornings to under-served populations through Open Table.
I meet people through Open Table who sleep on the street and are a lot more cheerful and grateful than I can be at times. It helps to put things in perspective,” said Lovain.
Lovain’s passion is social justice. She was recently chosen by the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) to represent the NFTE D.C. Region as a 2016 Global Young Entrepreneur for her work creating a series of customized curricula for schools to help teach students about economic, racial and gender disparities. Her latest business venture is an app to help promote political engagement among youth.
I want to engage teenagers and give them an easy way to understand current issues, find the local representatives and learn how and where to register to vote,” said Lovain.
She was also recognized as a Daily Point of Light by the Points of Light Foundation earlier this year for her efforts in organizing a voter registration drive at T.C. Williams High School.
Lovain appreciates the sense of community she has gained, the friendships she has developed and relationships she has built. She also appreciates the sense of purpose that volunteer work brings and the gratitude that it generates.
In high school, there is a great push to get volunteer service on your resume. But once you start doing it for the sake of doing it, it makes you appreciate a lot more and feel more fulfilled and content with your life,” said Lovain
Lovain, a 2015-16 Alexandria City School Board student liaison, has also been recognized with a Youth Community Services Award by Volunteer Alexandria and was nominated for the 2016 Governor’s Volunteerism Award.
After graduation, Lovain will attend the College of William and Mary where she will participate in a joint degree program with the University of St. Andrews in Scotland where she will study International Relations.