Leanne Marie Albillar is a talented young lady with a unique combination of leadership skills and creative ability. She was born in Richmond, Virginia, but grew up on a ranch in the Arizona desert. An only child, she was raised in a nurturing environment with the undivided love and attention of her parents, who homeschooled her through high school. They also gave Leanne the freedom to pursue her own interests. As a result, Leanne has always liked to try new things. She enjoys horseback riding, hiking, reading, writing, knitting, crafting, scrapbooking, calligraphy, photography, playing games, and watching movies.
When she was younger, Leanne went on field trips with the Desert Hills Christian Homeschoolers support group. For a few years in the summer she was able to go to Hero Camp, a Christian camp for homeschooled kids. Leanne joined a homeschool book club, attended various homeschool enrichment classes, and took some ceramics classes. She later participated in TeenPact Arizona, a hands-on legislative experience held at the state capitol. In high school, she did many community service projects with the Epsilon Delta chapter of the National Home School Honor Society.
Leanne received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for all of the hours that she spent on charitable projects such as packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, helping out at the Pioneer Living History Museum, and providing Christmas Cheer programs at senior care homes. But her favorite place to volunteer was at the Dreamchaser Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Ranch. Dreamchaser is dedicated to rescuing horses, gentling them, and then adopting them out to loving homes. Leanne was able to assist with the care and training of horses that had been previously neglected, abandoned, and even abused.
The Albillar family adopted a couple of Quarter Horses (Cassius and Clayton), both of which had been bound for a slaughterhouse in Canada but were rescued by Dreamchaser. Now the two animals have a stable home where they can live happily and love being ridden. In addition to the horses, Leanne has many other pets. She has one cat (Charlie), three dogs (Doc, Elvira, and Billy), four goats (Tsvetok, Francois, Picasso, and George), nine chickens (Magda, Angelique, Carolyn, Cassandra, Charity, Millicent, Julia, Natalie, and Liz), and two desert tortoises (John and Tiny Tim).
Leanne took Karate lessons for several years and earned a 1st degree Black Belt. Then she joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and advanced to the rank of Cadet 1st Lieutenant. She served as the cadet administration officer as well as being a mission radio operator. While in the CAP she marched in parades, assisted with crowd control at the Luke Air Force Base open house/air show, and she even got to fly a small plane out of Deer Valley Airport. Leanne loved every aspect of CAP, especially flying and manning the radios for emergency services.
A straight-A student, Leanne’s favorite subject was history. She also studied cults from a Christian perspective, and learned to play the guitar and piano. With so many varied interests, her future goals ranged from considering an apprenticeship at the Al-Marah Arabian horse farm to possibly attending Patrick Henry College and majoring in strategic intelligence. However, Leanne has one special talent that stands out from the rest, which will always serve her well no matter what else she decides to do. Leanne has an artistic flair for making clay sculptures and jewelry. She is passionate about detail and loves the challenge of creating pieces that are new and different.
Leanne’s favorite materials to work with are polymer clay, hemp, beads, wire, acrylic paint, and Mod Podge. Leanne also belongs to an Art Charms group, and she has an incredible knack for creating miniature works of art from found objects like bottle caps, nuts and bolts, even rocks and leaves. The unique products that she and her mom sell at craft fairs and online include intricate woven hemp bracelets, Kumihimo braided bead bracelets, steampunk robot pendants decked out with gears and other hardware, Christmas ornaments, altered Altoid tins, decorated Scrabble tiles, colorful clay creatures and bobblehead turkeys. All of these and more can be seen at her Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/VibrantPony.
Since graduating from high school, Leanne has held a variety of jobs: dog groomer, horse trainer, pet sitter, house cleaner, receptionist at a Neighborhood Storage center, and cashier at Walmart. When she’s not busy working, taking care of animals, or crafting things, Leanne is a self-described “gamer girl and total Left 4 Dead addict.” She also loves Minecraft, Portal, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein. Not surprisingly, some of her hand-sculpted crafts are based on these computer games – such as a pair of Weighted Companion Cube earrings and a complete set of cute little zombie figurines!
Coincidently, Leanne’s fiancé is majoring in Game Technology at college. Leanne first met Peter Olsen in their local homeschool group 12 years ago – when she was 6 and he was 9 years old! They grew up in the same neighborhood and regularly got together with their homeschooling friends. After graduating high school, Leanne and Peter didn’t go their separate ways but continued to see each other and became even closer. They will be getting married on January 15, 2012. Leanne’s creative talents are being put to good use as they are painting and fixing up a small house to live in after their wedding.
From excelling in academics to engaging in extracurricular activities, Leanne’s homeschool accomplishments established a foundation of self-confidence that gave her the courage to keep trying new things. She learned the value of teamwork in her varied roles as both a follower and a leader. Additionally, she was able to take part in more real-life experiences than she would have been able to do in a regular school setting. Leanne’s bold, positive outlook on life is reflected in one of her favorite Bible verses: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).