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Tuesday, December 6, 2022
ArlingtonAHC lauds volunteers for mentoring students

AHC lauds volunteers for mentoring students

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Non-profit housing provider AHC Inc. recently celebrated its nearly 350 individuals and groups that contribute time and talents through educational and social-services programs.

“Thanks to them, students are achieving academic success and going to college and families and seniors are participating in much-needed services like food distributions and vaccine clinics steps from their front doors,” said Laura Jackson, coordinator of resident-services volunteers at the organization.

The majority of AHC’s volunteers work directly with youth through its multi-tiered education program. Volunteers help build students’ literacy and math skills in after-school and teen programs and partner one-on-one with high-school juniors and seniors to help them navigate the journey to college and/or careers.

Volunteers also provide invaluable helping hands during community activities, from supporting food distributions to creating nutritious snack bags for youth and seniors.

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There are also generous individuals who live at AHC apartment communities and volunteer their time to help neighbors.

Volunteers’ efforts are “making a real difference,” the organization said.
“Our elementary students’ reading is improving measurably. The number of students who are on grade level or above jumped from 25 percent to 35 percent this year. All 42 seniors in our College and Career Readiness program are graduating from high school,” AHC officials said. “These determined students, working with dedicated mentors, already have earned more than $4 million in college scholarships and grants – and the amount continues to grow.”

More than 50 people have volunteered for more than five years, and in 2022, a total of 10 were honored for reaching the five- or 10-year milestone. They include Patricia Arriagada (5 years), Colin Bracis (5 years), Alyse Gardner (5 years), Alex Hegji (5 years), Lisa Ju (5 years), Leslie Korn (5 years), Peter Pfeifer (5 years), Lauren Rosenthal (5 years), Sharon Showalter (10 years), and Caroline Wolford (5 years).

For some volunteers, related jobs are the connection. Alex Hegji, a five-year mentor, works for the Congressional Research Services advising Congress about student loans. “Volunteering as a mentor is a way for me to work on the front end of the issue, helping students before they get college loans,” she said.

Others are committed to education. Caroline Wolford’s volunteer experience has paralleled her interest in a teaching career. She started volunteering five years ago as a freshman on the Marymount university women’s lacrosse team. (Volunteering with AHC’s Afterschool program has been part of the team’s community service-activities for years.)

Now finishing her master’s in education from Marymount, she plans to continue volunteering at AHC while embarking on a career in education.
Sharon Showalter, a 10-year volunteer, started as a teen tutor and helped the same student for several years – through his high school and eventual college graduation. They still keep in touch, and Showalter is planning to mentor his younger brother.

“I love the awesome relationships with students – learning from them about their interests and world views and sharing in their excitement when they hear back from college,” she said.

For information about AHC volunteer opportunities, see the Website at https://www.ahcinc.org/get-involved/volunteers/ or e-mail volunteer@ahcinc.org.

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