Three Cheers for Our Devoted Volunteers
If you’ve ever experienced a workshop, then you know first-hand that our volunteers play a pivotal role impacting hundreds of students each year. Whether they’re bright-eyed college students, dedicated alumni, or wholehearted, wise professionals, volunteers arrive at our workshops each year eager to guide our Peer Leaders through a journey of self-acceptance, self-discovery, and transformation. Recently, Alison Borek and Amanda Hale, two volunteers from Deloitte, a long time supporter of PeerForward, shared their experience volunteering at a PeerForward workshop through a company newsletter. Here’s what they shared:
Alison Borek, Writing Coach at St. John’s University, 2018
I have served on the Junior Board for PeerForward for the last few years, beginning my tenure when it was known as College Summit. I always felt pride and appreciation to be a part of an organization that helps high school kids in underserved communities become inspirational peers at school and increases their chances of attending college (as first generation attendees within their families). Prior to volunteering for the recent four-day writing workshop hosted at St. John’s where 100 students and 25 volunteers came together from across the country, I’ve participated in fundraisers and one-day workshops.
However, after assisting eight student Peer Leaders over an extended weekend to write their personal statements for college, I am beyond proud to work with this organization. Each student had different struggles to overcome to produce a writing statement they felt proud of and that represented them. All had fears and insecurities that they carried with them, and it was an incredible experience to help them share their experiences and see their confidence build. Through my volunteering, I played a role in opening their eyes to their potential and their creation of future opportunities. I highly recommend this experience to any of you who has been blessed, or overcome your own struggles- in other words, everyone- because, when I volunteered for that weekend, I not only helped the students but also reminded myself to be the best person I can be too.
Amanda Hale, Writing Coach at St. John’s University, 2018
I’ve volunteered as a PeerForward (formerly known as College Summit) writing coach for the last seven years and have led the junior board for the past two. I’ve seen firsthand the power of its mission and the impact it makes.
This is evidenced not only by its statistics (over the past 20 years, it has guided more than 350,000 students to higher education) but also by the fires that have been lit in individuals when they realize that they are college material, they can pursue their dreams, and they do have access to resources and support to help them get there.
The summer workshops are my favorite – I love the process of helping the Peer Leaders find their unique story and convey their strengths in a compelling way. It’s hard to describe the deep sense of fulfillment you get from seeing the direct difference your efforts can make on a young person’s life and future. Though the workshop volunteer slots go very quickly, so I guess people have caught on!
This past summer, nearly 100 volunteers like Alison and Amanda helped us usher in a new generation of Peer Leaders, serving as writing coaches and college coaches. After their workshop experience, Peer Leaders return to school prepared to write their personal statements and assist their peers in doing the same. The success of our Peer Leaders is largely thanks to the many volunteers who steered them through their workshop with confidence.