By Vi Bui, Mentoring & Volunteer Programs Coordinator
Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff
Here at Asian American LEAD (AALEAD), volunteers are a crucial resource to our youth development work. In some cases, such as with the mentoring program, we literally would not be able to provide these opportunities to our youth without the commitment of our volunteer mentors.
Last April, we celebrated National Volunteer Month by recognizing all the time our volunteers put into our youth. AALEAD volunteers have put in over 200 hours into our after school programs this school year. Our mentors have collectively dedicated over 800 hours to their one-on-one relationships with their mentees.
Last April 15, six of our mentoring pairs came out for an AALEAD sponsored mentoring event on Nutrition and Budgeting. I had a great time meeting some of our mentors and mentees for the first time and seeing first hand the mentors’ commitment to our young people.
At Thomson Elementary, our largest after-school program where a majority of our after-school program aides volunteer, we held a Volunteer Appreciation Celebration. The youth, with the help of AALEAD staff, put together activities and games to play with the current and former volunteers.
Most of the volunteer opportunities we provide at AALEAD are long-term commitments that range from a few months to a few years. This is because we want to emphasize that the most important thing our volunteers can give to our youth is consistent and continuous support. It is truly amazing to meet our after- school volunteers who have volunteered with us for years and know that many of our mentors see our young people through important events like transitioning between middle school and high school, and high school graduation. At AALEAD, we personify the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” because outside of a young person’s traditional and extended family, they have the caring community of AALEAD staff, volunteers, and mentors to rely on.
On behalf of AALEAD’s staff and youth, thank you to all of our volunteers!
If you are interested in becoming an Asian American LEAD volunteer, please reach out to Vi Bui, Mentoring & Volunteer Programs Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.