Volunteering with ANY provides first-generation college students with the resources, connections, and support they need to be successful in college and beyond. But there are so many unexpected benefits to giving your time with ANY! One of these benefits is the deep friendship that comes from shared purpose. Read on for stories of how volunteering has changed the lives of three recent Mentor Coaches.
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Two years after relocating to New Jersey for work, Megan still felt she hadn’t quite found her footing in her new city. That all changed when she joined America Needs You. Megan became a short-term volunteer and immediately felt the sense of belonging she had been looking for.
“ANY made me feel like I had a home. It was a way to finally feel that connection that I wasn’t feeling and get to know my community.”
Megan went on to become a Mentor Coach, and, after finishing her doctorate, she is a Mentor Coach once again!
“It has been such a fantastic experience to get to know Fellows and stay in touch.
My Fellow from 2015 just got back from Nigeria where she was awarded a Capacity Building Grant to do organic farming with local farmers.”
Megan credits ANY with personal grown in addition to important connections.
“The way that ANY is set up is very much a mutually beneficial organization. I’m learning just as much in the actual sessions and learning from the Fellows. Learning from them makes me a better at my job and a better community member.”
Anang invited his PwC coworker and friend Michael to an event that ANY was sponsoring at their workplace. Inspired by the mission, they both signed up to be Mentor Coaches, taking their leadership skills, and their networks, to a new level.
Their colleague Jenn has also joined ANY as a single day volunteer, and it’s a connection they all value in the office and beyond.
“Being a Mentor Coach for America Needs You has been a tremendous opportunity to not only support others with professional skills and tips I’ve learned through my experiences, but also to learn from the breadth of experience other Mentor Coaches have. I leave every workshop having learned a myriad of things about my personal and professional self and how to better support my Fellow’s goals.“
“The most rewarding aspect of the ANY Mentor Coach/Fellow dynamic is the two-way relationship – it truly is a partnership which can unlock powerful learnings and drive new goals on both sides. I’m grateful for the opportunity I have to support my Fellow’s goals by sharing wisdom, advice, and resources from my own experiences, and I’m equally excited to learn from the breadth of unique experiences my Fellow brings, as well as from the wide range of expertise in our talented Mentor Coach community.”
“I have met some of my very best friends through ANY.”
Melanie is a two-time Mentor Coach who has built deep bonds as a volunteer. Not only has ANY been the catalyst for many meaningful friendships based on a shared passion for giving back, it has also led to her traveling the country! Melanie has attended FOUR ANY-related weddings in New York City, Tucson, New Orleans, and Puerto Rico, all with fellow volunteers.
Her bonds with ANY Fellows are equally strong and even extend to her family and her professional life. Former Fellow Kay befriended Melanie’s sister and family upon moving to DC, so she sees him every time she visits. Former Fellow Nairy followed in Melanie’s career footsteps and is currently working with the Brooklyn Defenders.
“I also had [an ANY Fellow] working as an intern at my office some years ago, and she was a pleasure to work with. The Fellows are spectacular, it is fun to be a small support in their journey.”