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The Power of Volunteers for Student Success

Karmit Bulman | Published on 9/21/2022
MAVA has been deeply engaged in efforts to help local communities respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. One area of pandemic fallout we are currently focused on is student success. America’s students are on average two to four months behind in reading and math because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fallout from the pandemic on student academic success and emotional well-being, has been grim. Students from under-resourced communities, students of color and low-income students fell behind as a result of lack of resources to succeed with online schooling. Many students did not have the technology needed to succeed and their parents were financially unable to stay home from work to assist with schooling. Many community volunteers were willing to step in as tutors and mentors but were not able to enter schools or student homes to provide support. Some volunteers were overwhelmed with their own family needs during the pandemic and organizations have reported to MAVA that their volunteer pools dwindled during the pandemic. There is now a serious need for recruitment of new volunteers to serve as coaches, mentors and tutors and to helps students regain academic success and emotional well-being.

MAVA convened a collaborative group of 21 youth mentoring and coaching organizations, as well as individual schools and school districts to rebuild effective systems for volunteer engagement in youth mentoring, coaching and other models of adult partnerships in youth success. MAVA applied to AmeriCorps for a Volunteer Generation Fund grant and if successful will sub-grant funds to support innovative engagement of adult volunteers. We will provide training and consultation to sub-grantees to make sure recruitment, engagement, supervision and retention of volunteers are based on solid race equity practices. MAVA will offer our Race Equity in Volunteerism Assessment Program to all sub-grantees and will offer training in such topics as: Strategies for More Inclusive Volunteerism”, “Best Practices for Whom” and other race equity topics. We will also offer training on all aspects of volunteer engagement (recruitment, onboarding, supervision, risk management, recognition, leadership roles for volunteers, getting staff buy-in, etc.). 

The following articles come from some of the Volunteers for Student Success Collaborative members. We will work together to engage new volunteers who are key to helping students regain academic success and emotional well-being.