"I challenge the adults in the community to become a volunteer. You may be thinking that you do not have enough time, but somewhere between my job, wife, and two kids I was able to find the time."
IT Project Manager, City of Alexandria
Mentor, iMovie Mentor’s Program
Q: How did you first get involved with this organization and begin volunteering?
I came out to an interest meeting at George Washington Middle School to learn more about the program.
Q: Why did you choose to be a part of this particular organization?
I had been volunteering as a tutor in the Alexandria public schools with another program. I wanted to get more involved with the community and work with ‘at risk’ youth. I was very interested in the fact that this program included the use of technology and film making skills. I though it would be an opportunity to teach something I know (technology/ computers) and also learn something new (film making).
Q: How long have you been volunteering?
I have been volunteering with various organizations since I was in college at Howard University back in the 90’s. I volunteered at Children’s National Medical Center and also worked with another program that specifically worked with ‘at risk’ teenagers. I just recently started getting involved with the volunteer programs within the City of Alexandria since becoming an employee of the City back in 2006. The City makes it very easy to volunteer as they do allow you to use up to 1 work hour per week to volunteer in the community. I was already volunteering 1 hour a week when I was tutoring with the public schools, but when I added the iMovie Mentors program it added about 2-3 more hours a week for a total of about 4 per week or 20 per month. I decided to exceed the 1 hour a week that the City provided, because to me it is not really volunteer work if it is included as part of your work week. I still give the City credit for getting me motivated to get out and volunteer again after almost a decade of non-activity.
Q: What do your volunteer duties involve?
While working with the iMovie Mentors program my duties involved meeting with my mentee and the other participants at George Washington Middle School once a week. I would arrive after work in the evening and the program usually provided a light meal to eat with my mentee. Once we ate we would get to work on one of my mentee’s many projects of which we had several throughout the year. Some included making music or shooting footage for public service announcements. The final project involved creating a short movie with my mentee which was later open to the community to view at the Old Town Theater on King Street. The program also allowed us to participate in other activities besides making movies. For example; there was a weekend camping trip, golfing, and a host of other activities that were planned by the staff at the Court Service Unit. My mentee and I also had an opportunity to do some things on our own like a day trip to Cameron Run Park and a trip to the Charles County Maryland Fair. We had a great time and everything we did was a lot fun.
Q:What is the best part of volunteering at this organization?
The best part of volunteering is the feeling you get when you know you are helping someone else. Also it was great to see the smile on my mentee’s face when we did something fun or learned something new.
Q: What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
I have learned that I have something to share and sometimes teach that can be invaluable to someone else. I have also discovered that I can also learn things from my mentee, and he can share his experiences thus making us both better people from the experience.
Q: What would you recommend for others who want to get more involved in the community through volunteer work?
I would recommend that they go to alexandriava.gov/Mentoring or contact Mike Mackey at 703.746.4144 or email Mike.firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information on volunteering with the community through (AMP) Alexandria Mentoring Partnership. AMP has created a partnership of volunteer organizations in the Alexandria, VA, community. They have something for everyone. So if technology and movie making is not your thing; then they will definitely have something there for you. If you are specifically interested in the program that I participated in; then you can visit alexandriava.gov/iM2/ for the male program or alexandriava.gov/soho/ for the female program.