What’s It Like to Volunteer at UPchieve?

Volunteering can be an immensely rewarding and impactful activity. But for working professionals and college students, volunteering can often be too much to ask. It’s time-consuming and draining. It requires money for travel and a consistent weekly schedule. For those working a 9-5 (and let’s be honest: who works 8-hour workdays anymore?!) or dashing off to class at any hour of the day, volunteering can feel impossible to manage.

That’s why UPchieve has designed our virtual volunteer experience to be different: as an Academic Coach on UPchieve’s online tutoring platform, you set your own schedule and volunteer as much or as little as you want to each week. But don’t take it from us. Below you’ll hear directly from two of our dedicated volunteers on what they love about volunteering with UPchieve.

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Jake Wirfel
Background:
Consulting
Started Volunteering with UPchieve:
March 2019

Like many of our volunteers, Jake had prior experience tutoring before coming to UPchieve. He worked as a paid tutor in high school and as a volunteer tutor in college. After graduating and starting a full-time job, Jake hoped to continue volunteer tutoring “by finding local public school students and helping out on the weekends.”

“Suddenly I could help at the times that I wanted to. It was perfect for that.”

Jake said that he tried to find a tutoring position at a variety of organizations, but almost every opportunity he found required that he tutor “between 3 and 7 PM on weeknights, which is unfortunately when I'm working.”

After six months of searching, Jake finally gave up. Fortunately, it was shortly after that that he first heard about UPchieve from one of his coworkers.

“UPchieve was the exact thing I was looking for,” Jake said. “It’s really helpful for students that it's on-demand, but it's equally helpful for the tutors, because suddenly I could help at the times that I wanted to. It was perfect for that.”

Jake also says that volunteering with UPchieve has been “super motivating work” because he believes in the large-scale social change that UPchieve can have on the world.

Jake emphasized that one-on-one tutoring is usually a privilege available only to students who can afford to pay for it. “UPchieve is important,” he said, because it gives low-income students access to the same high-quality tutoring that their more affluent peers receive.

Well said, Jake. We completely agree.

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Catherine Lillis
Background:
Finance
Started Volunteering with UPchieve:
October 2018

Catherine told us she has always been motivated to volunteer in education because “the cause is really near and dear to my heart, and I've always done it.” 

However, once she started working “a very, very time consuming job”, her schedule made it difficult for her to volunteer at all—until she found UPchieve.

“The flexibility UPchieve gave me to weave volunteering into my schedule was huge for me.”

Catherine says that when she decided to tutor for UPchieve, “one of the main draws was the fact that it's so flexible. It was so wonderful to find an organization where I could say ‘I know I can find a few hours a week to volunteer, I just don't know when those hours will be all the time.’ The flexibility UPchieve gave me to weave volunteering into my schedule was huge for me.” 

Catherine shared that she personally prefers to volunteer later in the evening. When things get extra busy at work, she’ll update her schedule on UPchieve to reflect that.

“You’re helping students in real time, and they’ll often thank you at the end.”

She also says that she enjoys tutoring for UPchieve because she feels rewarded by her hands-on work with students, and thinks the platform is “really awesome. You’re helping students in real time, and they’ll often thank you at the end. I think it's such a wonderful organization with an incredible mission, so I want to do whatever I can to help out.”

Thanks Jake and Catherine for sharing your perspective and for your help in closing the opportunity gap once and for all.

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