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Go Volunteer Before Brunch

Evan Wu

Evan Wu serves on the ExpandED Schools Junior Board.

Last month, I had the opportunity to volunteer in the Bronx with a few of my friends at MS/HS 223 The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, which partners with Areté Education Inc. to expand learning. We spent Saturday morning eating too many donut holes and writing cards of encouragement to the high school's incoming seniors. 

What did I write to these students? I encouraged them to approach senior year with confidence and to look forward to what lies beyond high school -- for many of them, college. I reminded them that their school has done an excellent job of preparing them for the challenges ahead and that they are surrounded by a dedicated team of people who want nothing more than to help them succeed. 

In fact, we got to meet several of these dedicated people that morning, a couple of teachers as well as Principal Ramón González, all working tirelessly on a Saturday so that students could enjoy enrichment activities (such as soccer and tutoring) on the weekend.

I put my email address in each card and urged the seniors to count on me as the newest member of their support teams. I feel that partnerships between young professionals and high school seniors have the potential to become particularly beneficial – for both parties. As recent college graduates, young professionals can offer advice on applying to college, on college itself and on the daunting process of choosing and beginning a career. At the same time, high school seniors have much to teach transplants to New York, like myself, about what seems to many of us a very big city. They can help us maintain a healthy perspective about the broader world as we grind away in our often-soulless eighty-hour workweeks. I really do hope that some of the students email me, as I believe we have a lot to learn from each other. 

Volunteering, I also discovered, can be a very fun way to socialize. (Besides, how many times can one have Sunday brunch at the same restaurant?) After finishing our cards, my friends and I grabbed brunch in the area – a nice way to continue exploring the neighborhood, reflect on our experiences at the school and wrap up the productive morning. 

If you are looking for a unique, adventurous and meaningful social activity, I highly recommend rounding up a few friends, registering as ExpandED Schools volunteers and signing up for one of the next volunteering opportunities. (There’s a debate tournament that needs judges on Saturday, November 19th!)



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