Why I Volunteer: Charlotte Johnson

Charlotte Johnson tutors students in English and writing in New Door’s Education Program who are looking to get their high school equivalency.  She is a dedicated volunteer, taking the time to get to know her students inside and outside of the classroom.  Charlotte has lived in San Francisco for ten years and works at Google, where she supports a variety of people-related functions, including employee communication, internal events, and human resources.

 

Choosing New Door Ventures:

I stumbled upon New Door when searching for volunteering opportunities online. I have always enjoyed mentoring and tutoring, and I was eager to find an opportunity where I could work closely with a student. I was drawn to New Door’s Education Program and was thrilled to have the chance to tutor students in English and writing.

I was excited and eager to get started. I met with Rena, (Program Manager, Education and Employment) on my first day, and we discussed New Door’s programs and the student I would be helping on a weekly basis. I was inspired by the scope and breadth of New Door’s programs and was eager to help in any way I could.

Connecting with youth:

I remember when I first met Heidi, my most recent student. We spent time talking about her academic goals and we fell into natural conversation, laughing and learning from each other. Heidi and I worked together on English and writing skills. She is a tenacious learner, and I loved reading and writing with her on a weekly basis. Watching her approach her assignments with gusto and curiosity was a joy every week, and I was so proud when Heidi wrote two long papers for her English class this summer. We keep in touch and chat about her career and academic goals.

The importance of community:

New Door plays an instrumental part in the Bay Area community, not only as a place to learn but also a place to be yourself where you can grow, find friendship and support. Whether youth are studying in a workshop, playing pool, or chatting with the staff, they can feel like they have a community and support system. When you walk into New Door, it feels welcoming and warm. You feel ready to work together, embrace challenges, and learn from each other.

Organizations like New Door are critical, not just for the educational and vocational resources offered, but also for the shared experiences for students and staff. It’s a place to feel vulnerable. Sometimes you don’t know all the answers, but you learn together. You celebrate successes and provide support during times of disappointment.