Hi, my name is Mindy Ge and I graduated from Rutgers in 2018 with a B.A. in Cell Biology & Neuroscience and Psychology. I volunteered at YES throughout college and currently help manage YES’s social media platforms and monthly newsletters.
How did you first get involved?
I learned about YES through The Collaborative at Rutgers and began volunteering through their Semester of Service as a tutor my sophomore year. I really enjoy working with kids and wanted to get to know the community more, so this was the perfect opportunity. I became involved with Oasis Summer Camp the following summers as a counselor and I continued tutoring throughout the school year. Since graduating, I’ve been able to volunteer at X-Cite Nite as well!
What are your favorite things about YES?
The resources and opportunities provided to local youth (I think the preventative nature of our programs are especially impactful because most of our participants are in their prime formative years) and the people I've met including both participants and staff!
What is your most memorable moment?
There are so many instances where I felt proud as a tutor, counselor, or mentor seeing students improve in reading comprehension or a camper finally going down the water slide at the pool after weeks of saying he/she was too scared and other examples where these small successes in overcoming what they perceived as obstacles will render huge growth in their development and having played a role in that. However, more than these acts of achievement, there are pivotal moments when you realize a child suddenly trusts you, and I think these are the moments I cherish the most. The very beginning of camp or tutoring a new student can be a little awkward because you're strangers but eventually, you’re greeted with a hug, asked to be on a specific sports team, or hear about their passions and dreams unprompted. There's a turning point where your relationship turns from camper and counselor or student and tutor to “I have your back and you have mine," a bond encompassing mutual respect and trust, and the reason I keep coming back to YES.
Why do you think people should volunteer with YES?
You can volunteer for just 2 hours a week and really make an difference in a child's life who may otherwise not have a role model to look up to. Additionally, I think a lot of volunteers would agree that you learn a lot in return, too. I've taken away so many life lessons and rewarding experiences.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
One of my top destinations is actually the US. I’d love to do a road trip across the country visiting cities, non-cities, and national parks.