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BioPark Volunteers and Staff Give Back to the Community During the Holidays

Led by star volunteer Lula Triandafilidis, education staff and volunteers donate items to local school children.

ABQ BioPark education volunteers and staff spend much of their time educating visitors and the community about conservation and animals, but during the holidays they also give back to the local community.

ABQ BioPark docent Lula Triandafilidis has led the gift drive for 26 years. Students at Dolores Gonzales and Lew Wallace elementary schools receive coats, stuffed animals (zebras and river otters this year), age-appropriate books and a pencil. Some also receive hats and gloves.

Lula BioPark Volunteer Join a a School 2016“I love kids!” said Triandafilidis. “Years ago I saw a need that some kids didn’t have a warm coat or wouldn’t be receiving any Christmas gifts so I decided to do something about it. It is rewarding seeing their faces when they receive their book and stuffed animal—so precious!”

Most of the money for gifts comes from Triandafilidis and her sons Stephen and John, but other volunteers and staff also donate their time and money to purchase, wrap and deliver holiday presents in person at the schools. Education staff does the purchasing and organizing, and volunteers help wrap the books.

“Lula has been a Zoo Docent for 31 years,” said Cheri Vogel, ABQ BioPark curator of education.  “Her dedication to the BioPark and to these kids comes from her huge heart.  We are truly lucky to have her as part of our team.”

ABQ BioPark volunteers and staff will deliver the gifts at Dolores Gonzales Elementary on December 12 and at Lew Wallace Elementary on December 15.

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