Each of our incredible volunteers comes from their own unique background. Many volunteers are teachers who started teams or got involved. Others are alumni who chose to give back to the community that helped to form them and their passions in life. More still are parents. Many of these parents aren’t sure what they’re in for when they step up to volunteer on their kid’s teams or at events, but many come to love what they find there.
This is Victor Araujo’s story. In 2017, Victor’s daughters joined their middle school’s FIRST® Tech Challenge team. Wanting to stay involved with their activities and to help their team overcome new challenges, Victor began helping out with their team where he could. What began as just helping quickly evolved into a highly involved volunteering career. Victor helped anywhere and everywhere he could both on the team at their events. As his daughters grew and moved on to high school, Victor grew with them.
In 2020, he helped to found FIRST® Robotics Competition team 8573, The Rogue-Rangers LEGACY, in Mission, TX. It was beginning to look like a big year for the infant team. Before they had the chance to build much momentum, they were faced with the pandemic. Many teams have similar stories, involving closed schools, low participation, and growing lack of interest. But Victor and his community stepped up to keep things rolling. 8573 made it through the pandemic, finally debuting at the Texas Cup in 2021, where they took the Highest Rookie Seed award. The team went on to take Rookie All-Star at the FIRST® Robotics Competition World Championships in 2022.
The successes of his kids and those of his community kept Victor coming back year after year, eventually into his current role as Head Referee for the FIRST® Tech Challenge South region in Texas. He is a pillar of his community and a cornerstone of many events. He find himself helping far beyond his title, as a robot inspector, in queueing, and as a mentor to new volunteers. He finds satisfaction in overcoming whatever obstacles the day throws his way as he provides assistance to teams and works to ensure that participants feel helped and welcome.
Volunteers like Victor are everywhere, quietly at work to build their community and elevate the next generation to new heights. Many of these volunteers will go unseen and unrecognized for their work. We want to put the spotlight on them. If you know of a volunteer who deserves a shout out, let us know! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take care of the rest. If you think your hard-working volunteer would prefer to remain private, that’s ok too! Just give them a warm thank you for their selfless efforts. If Victor’s story inspired you and you want to sign up to donate your time, visit our volunteer page today!