Why I Volunteer: A Q&A with New Door Volunteer Reid Koster

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For the last two years Reid has been tutoring students in New Door’s Education Program in everything from English to Geometry and participates in the Employment Program’s volunteer-powered workshops, conducting mock interviews and sharing his professional journey. Reid was born in Mountain View California and works as a Customer Success Manager at Better Works. When he is not working or volunteering he can be found exploring San Francisco, playing Disc Golf or listening to his favorite music. Reid values honesty and friendship and is a great asset to the New Door community.

What it was like when he first started volunteering:

I googled best volunteer opportunities in the Bay Area and New Door showed up on a list of “San Francisco’s favorite organizations.” It jumped out at me because I am passionate about education and reducing the opportunity gap.

I started tutoring with New Door in late 2016. Since then I have worked with many students on different subjects, including Geometry and English. More recently, I’ve been volunteering at career panels and mock interview workshops taking place during New Door’s employment program.

His hopes as a volunteer:

I really hoped to be useful in any way I could. I think being able to share my career path and job is helpful since there are so many different jobs and ways to be successful in life. I wanted to impart the lesson I have learned, which is to learn from every opportunity you can. Most people don’t know what they are good at or what their ideal career is until they’ve tried many different jobs.

On his goals:

As a volunteer tutor I hope to help youth with shorter term goals like passing a class at City College. As a volunteer in mock interviews and resume workshops, I hope to impart a few lessons that can help in any employment scenario.

A volunteer interaction that stands out:

I remember tutoring a youth who was trying to improve his English skills and graduate high school all while working almost 50 hours a week at night. When he first came to the U.S., he was washing dishes and would finish at 3:00 a.m. before having to wake up at 6:00 a.m. to get ready for class. I’ll always remember thinking how unfair it was to have the same classwork expectations as everyone else in your school but have 12 fewer hours in the day to dedicate to your education. The situation made me sad but I was also immensely inspired by his resilience.

He was worried about survival and sleep, and yet still making his best effort to learn and improve himself.

What New Door does best:

I think the internship placement is invaluable for a disconnected youth because transitioning from being a student to a working environment is hard for anybody, and the lessons learned by being on the job cannot be replicated in a classroom environment.

Importance of New Door’s Existence:

Extremely important. San Francisco is often seen as this tech monolith, but its community is much broader than that. Opportunities for all to succeed are critical.