Anyone who has been a 15-year-old girl knows: girls can be vicious. Having a displaced curl or shoes that don’t quite match to the latest Teen Vogue issue can lead to high school humiliation.
But for 15-year-old Chelsea Lollar, the only criticism she receives from her peers is that she’s just too nice.
“I want to be different,” Lollar said. “I don’t want to fade into the back, but I want to do it in a special way.”
Lollar’s kindhearted nature led her to become a volunteer with Project READ, a tutoring and literacy program at the . She began tutoring K-8 students this year as a way to make a difference.
“I don’t just like to tutor, I make them my little friends,” Lollar said, “I just enjoy seeing their smiles and seeing them happy.”
The sophomore has a deep love for reading, a fan of the Hunger Games and the Blue Blood series; she has always been a child of the library.
“They’re like a big family here,” Lollar said of the Redwood City library.
Her father, Stewart Lollar, has worked at the local library for more than 25 years. Her family’s strong enthusiasm for helping others has fueled her desire to become as positive a role model for others as her family has been for her.
“My family always puts other people before them, and I try to do that,” she said.
But Stewart Lollar said he simply got lucky with a child who has a drive to better her surroundings.
“We’re just really lucky she’s someone who just wants to do the right thing,” he said. “She’s her own motivator, we’re just her keepers.”
Stewart Lollar describes his daughter as a very honest person and a concerned perfectionist.
“She’s been a leader since she was too young to even lead anyone,” Stewart Lollar said.
Though the younger students are grateful for Chelsea’s service, many of her friends can’t understand why each week she spends at least four hours tutoring younger kids, Chelsea said.
“They might not understand it now,” she said. “But it gives you a sense of gratitude.”
After each tutoring session, Chelsea said she feels a great sense of happiness from knowing that she has made a positive impact that day.
Though she is not set on which profession she wishes to pursue in the future, tutoring has also made her recognize her love for helping children.
“Working with kids I have so many more options,” she said.
While not tutoring, Chelsea loves to cook and dance for several dance teams throughout Redwood City. She also has an interest in journalism and, of course, working with children.
Though she is only about to begin her second year at Sequoia High, she has worked diligently in her advanced placement classes.
Chelsea is also in the process of learning Spanish in an effort to lessen the language barrier between her and some of the students she tutors.
“I don’t think they need to change for me, I need to change for them,” Chelsea said of learning Spanish for her students.
A mother of one of the Project READ students is currently tutoring Chelsea.
As she continues growing in years and experience, Chelsea only hopes to remain true to herself and to continue to be a role model to the students of Project READ.
“I hope they walk away with the same feeling I do,” she said. “I want them to feel accomplished.”