Meet Bert, Our Volunteer Spotlight!
Learning Manager, City of Richmond, Virginia
Recent Workshop Role:
Writing Coach Coordinator
Why did you initially decide to volunteer with PeerForward: “I was working for a bank that was a donor to, what was then, College Summit. They asked for volunteers to participate and I signed up. I was a first-gen kid who had zero guidance when I graduated high school. Having the opportunity to give back and help some other young people was so aligned with my servant leader lifestyle. I really had no idea what to expect that first summer.”
The most rewarding thing about volunteering is… “I tell people that I work for 11 months so I can do Peer Forward that 12th month! From WST to the workshops I LOVE the people I get to work with, meeting the amazing students we get each summer and the wonderful volunteers who give of their time and talents. I think what I find most rewarding is seeing a student’s lightbulb go off when they realize just how much power their story truly has. Many have never looked it in that way and relish being a catalyst to that revelation for them. They make it all worth the sleepless nights, dorm beds, long days, and whatever else we do to make this happen for each of them!”
Bert‘s Advice for PeerForward Volunteers: Come into it with an open mind. Whatever you thought you knew about college access and mentoring young people will be richly changed by the experiences at workshops. We tell every volunteer every year to “Trust the Process” Although some struggle with it, most walk away understand that mantra. Also I would tell them to not bring any preconceived notions of these students with them. They are amazing, wonderful, powerful, and have a heartbeat that will move you. They are so much more than any expectations you would limit them to. Let them tell their stories and listen for the heartbeat. TRUST THE PROCESS!!
Fun Facts about Bert: People see me and assume I’m a huge extrovert. I’m not. I’m a professional extrovert. When I’m not working I have a number of solo hobbies that surprise most people. I ride motorcycles, I ride bikes, I collect WWI memorabilia, I love to read, I don’t really follow sports anymore, and I’m a sucker for an amazing meal and a good bottle of wine!