Hari Leonardo Darling – City of Charlottesville Resident (Originally from Chicago )

Tell us about your volunteer activities.
I have been a volunteer all of my adult life. I’ve always been doing something. For the past few years, I have been collecting food from health food stores and I distribute it to places like The Haven, Salvation Army, and several Senior Centers. I create at Tinkersmiths Makerspace and I especially like working with the young folks that come through there. Also, every day I am motivated to volunteer at Computers4Kids. I wake up looking forward to come to C4K and excited about the variety of projects I can work on with the kids. I really enjoy volunteering there and have always enjoyed working with kids.

What inspires you to volunteer?
I am inspired to volunteer knowing that I am older and somewhat more experienced than the youngsters that I encounter and I’d like to impart some of my wisdom on them. I think it’s important. I don’t see generation gaps, walls, or titles – I tear those down.

If your volunteer work could make one long-lasting change, what would you want it to be?
If I could make one long-lasting change it would be to change, influence, or “drop a seed” in the minds of the youth that I meet.  Even if it’s only one thing or one person.  I believe that some of the greatest leaders are also the best followers.

What is a little-known fact about you?
Most people don’t know that I am an artist. I am a behind-the-scenes kind of person. A lot of my creative things people never see. Creating things and my artwork is therapeutic to me and putting my work on display is not my main goal. 

What brought you to Charlottesville/Albemarle County?
I came to Charlottesville shortly after I got married and it was better to be in Charlottesville than Buckingham County because of work opportunities. Charlottesville has so many more resources. The various organizations and people here genuinely want to help.