Why be part of Amigos de UCLA?
Anna Garfink, Volunteer
"Oh my goodness. Where do I begin?" For starters, the children: they have opened up my eyes to a world I would have never known existed, and they taught me how to be patient and open when in new environments. Moreover, Amigos brought me into the world of service, of CSC, and the greater Los Angeles community, for which I will be eternally grateful. I never expected I would have the kinds of eye-opening experiences in college that I've had with Amigos, but I am really glad that I did! And lastly, I ask myself all the time how much I actually impact the community, and I never know how quite to answer. All I know is that the kids and parents just adore Amigos, so I can only hope I have made an impact somehow. Wow that was a really long and sappy response. But, it's all true! :)"
Marta Polovin, Volunteer
"Amigos offered me my first chance at UCLA to be a part of something bigger--to be a part of the mission to empower the youth of Los Angeles. Most of my prior volunteer work felt disconnected, in the sense that my efforts could be sorted into one-time, no-commitment-necessary events. I volunteered knowing that it's just 'something good to do.' However, Amigos completely changed that. Through the organization, I was able to cultivate relationships with four incredible kids. I'd like to say that I helped them- but over these past two years, they've done for me than words can describe. Even when they struggled with some math equations or some spelling, I always made it a point to reaffirm how special, smart, and talented they are. Then with some practice and patience, they amazed me. (Sometimes, they even schooled me. That's how I knew I was doing my job...) It also inspired me to work for the Preparedness Education department at the Red Cross this summer; I taught dozens of kids living in low-income, vulnerable communities how to 'Stop, Drop, and Roll.' It's my last year at UCLA and couldn't imagine it without Amigos. I've probably learned more through this program than in most of my classes. It's been a trademark facet of my time here in Los Angeles--and I hope that I can still be a part of the mission before graduation. (Thank you!)"
Kimberly Anyadike, Volunteer
"After we finished the creative project for the day, something a tutee asked me made me feel a little... sad. After gluing the last hand-shaped flower petal onto the once bare plate that we made in to something beautiful, she hesitated to put her picture in the center of the plate, and asked me, 'what if people don't like it?' I was confused at first, and so I said, 'What do you mean? It does not matter what people think of it as long as you are proud of it and as long as you like it. I love it because we created it together. And we are friends right?' She hid under the table and said, 'what if people laugh?.. because of my picture. What if they think it looks funny?' In an instant my heart ached for the little tutee and I told her that it does not matter what people think of her, and that I thought she was beautiful. She emerged from under the table unsatisfied, and continued to run around the room asking everyone what they thought of her creation. She struggles with self-confidence, and fails to realize her unique beauty. If I can touch one person's life- just make one person feel special -even if it is just for a moment I believe that I can ignite a fire of hope, and light within them, and like a ripple the light will spread. Each person who has been touched will have the passion to contribute greatly to the world that we live in; in whatever way that they can. And that makes me happy. Amigos de UCLA also makes me feel even more like a kid and I love it!"
April Chau, Volunteer
"Through my experience in Amigos de UCLA, I have been able to instill a vision of higher education in the students I work with. Some may have doubts about their dreams in the future, but I work to motivate and push them to realize that they can become whatever they work for. Whether it be working on a homework problem or putting together an arts and crafts activity, I encourage my tutee's to put in their best effort in whatever they do. After participating in this program last year, I was able to see the impact that we have on the students. We provide them with a space where they can express themselves, where they feel welcome to ask questions, and where they can share their fears and dreams. By creating this space for them, the students are able to grow and become more confident in themselves. I want to return to Amigos de UCLA this year because the work that this program does is unbelievable; there is so much heart and passion that goes into all of the work that is done solely for the kids. I want to continue to make a positive impact on the students that we work with in this program. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the growth in my tutee from them beginning to the end of the program."
Maite Medina, Volunteer
"I have had a great experience at Amigos de UCLA for the past 3 quarters. The volunteers are such inspiring people in their dedication and passion for service and mentoring children with immense potential. Not only that, the children are wonderful and also equally inspiring. I like to think that I have made a positive impact on their life and helped them gain confidence to believe in their ability to achieve their wildest dreams. I would like to continue doing that this year, because I know I would not be where I am today without the unconditional love, support, and words of encouragement of those special people in my life. The least I can do is give back and keep the tide going!"