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How AOL e-Volunteers helped our students—without leaving their offices

Erin Phillips

Erin Phillips is a Development Officer at ExpandED Schools.

Dear Sir/Madam: 

I have a few questions about technology, social media, and communication.

1. How does technology help in our lives?

2. Why is technology so important?

3. Why is social media so important?

4. Why is communication so important?

5. What influences technology?

I thank you in advance, and patiently wait for your response.


Erin, an AOL employee in Virginia, takes a selfie as she responds to students' letters. 


On May 12th, AOL employees around the world came together for their 8th annual Monster Help Day, a day of service with the common goal of giving back to the communities in which they live and work. Their impact was huge; they had projects in 70 cities around the world, touching the lives of 32,000 people. 

For those AOL employees who wanted to participate but weren’t able to leave their office that day, ExpandED Schools had just the opportunity for them; volunteers could respond to letters written by our students. Middle schoolers in an iPhotography club at Harriet Tubman Charter School in the Bronx wrote letters asking questions about technology, social media and communication. And the AOL volunteers, spread throughout Virginia, California, Florida and Massachusetts, were more than happy to answer.

The students asked insightful questions (one example: How do websites like Facebook put you in danger when it comes to communication?) and the volunteers responded in kind. One bit of advice to the social media question was, “The internet provides a certain amount of anonymity that can be great at times. It gives courage to those who would not have spoken out otherwise. But this anonymity can also be used by those intending to do wrong. What is important to know is that Facebook and Twitter have teams that are in charge of stopping this.”

The volunteers also provided positive encouragement to the students like, “Keep working hard in school, show kindness, and help make this world a better place!”

Overall the day was a huge success and a truly memorable one for the students who got career advice and feedback from professionals located throughout the country! 

If you are interested in other volunteer opportunities at ExpandED Schools, please contact Erin Phillips at volunteer@expandedschools.org


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