Creating Positive Impact Together
Volunteers Use Talents and Professional Skills to Make a Difference with PPL
Jessica hadn’t had this much fun since she was a kid. A volunteer in PPL’s youth programs since 2006, she remembers a water game they played at last summer’s program called ‘Drip, Drip, Drop’ where she was unexpectedly ‘dropped’ on. By the end of the night, Jessica was thoroughly drenched and laughing heartily with the kids. It was a memorable night, but not her favorite part about being a volunteer.
“The most rewarding thing,” Jessica said, “is to know I am truly making an impact. It’s very gratifying to see the student I tutor continue to make progress on his reading benchmark scores.”
Volunteers like Jessica make a tremendous impact in our community, offering their time and energy to PPL’s programs and services. Together, over 2,000 people gave nearly 52,000 hours of service through PPL last year, many of them combining their unique talents and professional skills to make a difference.
As a former teacher, Jessica knows the value of education—and consistency. Studies show how a student’s academic performance improves with regular tutoring from the same tutor. Now in her second year with the same student, Jessica is seeing this first-hand.
“I’ve been especially amazed by my student’s reading progress and willingness to really focus this year,” Jessica said. “I think this is due, in part, to the familiarity of working together for two years.”
For Hannah, a fitness coach and past teacher, connecting with PPL’s MERC Alternative High School was a natural fit. She coaches students in her Solcana CrossFit Gym twice a week, improving their physical health, and much more.
“The kids have made huge gains,” Hannah said. “I’ve seen their confidence grow immensely since starting with us. Being able to control a barbell is invigorating and empowering.”
Our students also use the gym outside of class time, with a few training for local weightlifting competitions. Seeing their hard work has been rewarding for Hannah.
“My favorite thing is watching our students compete in their end-of-the-trimester weightlifting meet. They take it very seriously and get really hyped up about it. Watching them challenge themselves and lift heavier than they have before is exciting.”
Carter jumped at the chance to use his technology expertise from work to help adults at the PPL Learning Center computer lab.
“I love to knock down the barriers of technology so people can do what they need to do,” Carter said. “It’s incredible to help adults accomplish things that make a tangible difference.”
Carter regularly helps participants write resumes, fill out job applications, and proof homework for people who are learning English. His volunteerism isn’t only helping participants; his employer is matching his time with financial support to PPL, and it’s had an effect on his own life.
“I’m gaining a lot of perspective. Sometimes it’s hard to go to work Monday morning, but here they are, working hard to get to go to a job. It helps me be grateful for what I have, and be a part of sharing it.”
Sharing a volunteer opportunity with his family brought Tim to PPL’s Homework ‘n’ Hoops afterschool tutoring program. After a few years of tutoring, he brought his then-8th grade son to assist him. Soon Tim’s son and his other three children were tutoring as well. Tim has tutored at PPL for the past 18 years, and, combined, his children tutored for another 18 years.
“I am forever grateful for the chance to share this with my family,” Tim said. “The best part for me is the opportunity to build a relationship with a kid each year. Every year has been a different experience, and I have so enjoyed developing those relationships.”