Meet Nia! She has been volunteering as a College Prep Mentor with our Edgies Teen Center since the fall. Nia is part of the Lower East Side community and has enjoyed connecting and working with teens in her own neighborhood. Every week Nia works one-on-one with her mentee guiding them through the college application process and helping to prepare them for college. Nia is an amazing part of our group of mentors who provide personal attention to high school seniors, which they so often lack during this critical time. Mentors not only provide support throughout the application process with things like editing essays and choosing schools, but also work closely with the students to form bonds that often are long lasting. We are so grateful for personable and dedicated volunteers like Nia who help make this program great.
- Which volunteer opportunities are you apart of at MCC?
I am a college prep mentor with Edgies My goal is to get more involved once the city opens up and it’s safe to do so!
- What brought you to volunteering at MCC and how has your experience been?
I moved to NYC after graduating and live right around the corner from MCC. Every day, I would walk by and wonder how I could get involved until I went on the website and signed up. I’ve loved it so far! One of my favorite parts is the physical space. You can tell how much time, effort, and love it takes to maintain it.
- What is your favorite part about volunteering?
Definitely the students! They make me laugh and I always leave with thoughts. I’m interested to learn more about the different ways to get involved and spend more time at the center.
- Do you have a favorite story or anecdote from volunteering at MCC or in the community?
I look forward to hearing the students’ banter. Since there is a group that go to school together, they are more comfortable with the space and each other. As someone coming in, seeing their personality was always a treat. Whether they were asking about my time in college or asking for help to figure out which school was best for them, they exceeded in letting their personalities shine through.
- How do you plan to stay connected to your community during this time of social distancing?
I’ve been trying to do research on different food banks, mutual aid, and other ways to assist community members during this time. This is the time to get creative. I also help share ways to fill time or distract (even if it’s just a moment) with low-cost or free ways that are easy to do at home.
- What is your favorite at home self-care activity you have been practicing?
Stretching! Since we aren’t moving around as much, we don’t realize how tense we become by sitting around at home. It helps me feel refreshed and even though I’m realizing I am not the most flexible, it’s an easy way for me to figure out what my body needs.
As a Changemaker, volunteers are part of a movement of engaged New Yorkers taking action to strengthen Lower East Side and beyond. Our spotlight series provides an opportunity to share the stories of why community members get involved, what they gain from the experience, and the impact they are able to make at the Manny Cantor Center and in the community. Thank you to all who choose to come through our doors to help build the neighborhood we want to live in.
If you are interested in volunteering or getting involved with us here at Manny Cantor Center, we have opportunities available for a variety of schedules and interests. Learn more about being a Volunteer Changemaker at MCC here.