WILMINGTON — If grades were given for wanting to help others, Lillian Perriello definitely deserves an A.
The seventh grader at Wilmington Middle School has created a free tutoring program to give back to the community and share her love of learning with others.
“I want to do this program so kids in the community can do their best. My teachers in the Wilmington public school system always let me strive to my best abilities. Some kids just need a little more help outside of school and I think I can help them,” she said.
Perriello, age 12, got the idea to provide tutoring after her volunteering with Beyond Tops, a nonprofit organization in Wilmington which aims to integrate children with mental and physical disabilities into the community through sports.
“After volunteering with Beyond Tops, I was thinking of other programs to create and I didn’t see any tutoring programs,” Perriello said. “I want to help others. Kids in middle school know what it takes to succeed in elementary school. I can tutor kids from kindergarten to fifth grade, in all subjects — math, especially — and also in science and English Language Arts.”
A straight A student at Wilmington Middle School, she plays clarinet in the school band, takes piano lessons, studies Russian math in a special program in Winchester, reads novels, and plays with her dog, Oreo. For fun she is learning how to speak Chinese.
Although she has a full plate, her parents Edward and Sandy Perriello have no fears that she can get it all done.
“One thing about Lillian, she handles most of her own stuff,” father Edward said. “I’ve told her that if she manages her time well we will leave her to her own devices.”
Adopted at 14 months from Hubei, China, Lillian is the Perriellos’ second adopted daughter from that country. Sister Lailoo, 16, is also gifted. A junior at Wilmington High School, Lailoo is an honor student and plays the violin in the Boston Symphony Youth Orchestra.
“Part of our thinking about adopting children from China was to offer them a chance at education and to be able to attend college one day,” Edward said. “I feel very fortunate to have a daughter who is so smart and who wants to help other people, which I find to be very special.”
Edward noted that he grew up in a large family and was one of eight children. “I watched some who had difficulty in academics and others who did not. I saw what it was like for my parents to deal with the ones that had the difficulty and consider myself very, very fortunate that I have a daughter who handles all this this on her own, seems to be progressing nicely. I think the future holds a lot for Lillian. I’m proud of and quite happy for her,” he said.
The future does, indeed, seem bright for Lillian.
“I want to be a pediatric surgical oncologist when grow up because I’ve always been interested in science and really want to cure cancer,” Lillian said.
“She has her life all figured out. She’s smart, energetic, and ambitious and has a lot to talk about,” mom Sandra said.
Teacher Michael Mahoney met Lillian when she was in his 6th grade English Language Arts class. He said he has found her to be conscientious, hardworking and driven to success. He said she is a great example of a young person who wants to share her skills to make a difference.
“I think she wants to make the world a better place,” Mahoney said. “Lillian is always willing to help her fellow students and being a helpful young lady who is a top notch student — she should be extremely successful as a tutor.”
To reach Lillian about free tutoring for kindergarten through fifth graders, please call 978-988-1945. If you get the answering machine, please leave a message and Lillian will call you back.