1. How did you get involved with PowerMyLearning?
Being fairly new to New York City (we all came here after graduating college, and have only been here two years), several of us had volunteered with various organizations but felt that the hours we put in did not always make a tangible impact. In a city like New York, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount that needs to be done and how incapable you are to make a dent.
PowerMyLearning was a breath of fresh air in the sense that they didn’t just give you volunteer and donation opportunities; they went a step further to measure the impact their work has on students. Their tangible results were extremely encouraging! We had all planned on running a half marathon and felt that using the event as a way to help our community would be awesome. It got even better when we stumbled across PowerMyLearning. We attended a Family Learning Workshop to make sure that the organization was everything we thought it would be and were blown away by the team, their impact, and the real joy on the faces of the students at the workshop.
2. At PowerMyLearning, we believe that students are most successful when they are supported by their families and teachers. One way we strengthen this “triangle” of student-family-teacher relationships is through Family Learning Workshops. Can you tell us a little bit more about your experience at the workshop and what resonated with you about PowerMyLearning’s mission?
We arrived at the school at 8:45 AM (15 minutes before the workshop started) and many of the families were already there, excitedly waiting! As all of the PowerMyLearning team was busily setting up, I remember feeling worried that I wasn’t going to be much of a help. However, the second the workshop kicked off we had our hands full from start to finish.
It was a wonderful experience to just be present supporting students and families—many of whom were not tremendously familiar with how to set up their new laptops but were infinitely excited nonetheless. We got to know several of the families over that time frame, and it was amazing to see students’ faces light up when they finally got to play some of the games on PowerMyLearning Connect, PowerMyLearning’s online platform. It was a really special experience and we are looking forward to doing it again!
3. What were your biggest takeaways from volunteering with us?
When we attended the workshop we were blown away by how involved everyone was, both kids and parents. I was thoroughly encouraged by how excited the parents were and their genuine desire for their kids to learn and better themselves. While the laptop donation was for the kids, you could clearly tell that this was something that would benefit the whole family.
I was also surprised by how much I take my own technology literacy for granted. Having grown up with computers, it was a juxtaposition to work with many families who had never owned a home computer. It really drove home for me how important and impactful the work that PowerMyLearning is doing for these families as a whole, and not just the young students.