At Xtreme, we are committed to being an integral part of the communities where we live and work. Katherine Hopkins, our Portland HR Coordinator, is leading by example in her new volunteering role. Katherine has recently started volunteering at the Native American Youth and Family Center in Portland, OR. We caught up with Katherine to learn a little more about her passion with helping these students.
The NAYA is a family center that provides culturally-specific programs and services that guide Native Americans in the direction of personal success and balance through cultural empowerment. Specifically, Katherine volunteers with the Sunrise EAST (Education and Skills Training) program.
Sunrise EAST is the youth workforce development program at NAYA. A large component of this program is the development of strong partnerships with business professionals in the community, like Katherine.
How did you get started with the NAYA Center?
My friend Brittney Corey is a coordinator in the program and reached out to me knowing my background in HR and I thought it was a great opportunity to use my education and experience to help others.
What are your roles when volunteering?
There are typically four volunteers including myself that meet with different students and conduct mock interview based on the job they told us they were applying for. We would ask the questions as if we were hiring for that position, once done with the interview we would provide feedback on their resumes, their answers to the interview questions, and advice for the real interview.
Why do you volunteer?
It’s hard to explain how good it felt to help these children; they genuinely wanted the feedback and appreciated it. One of the students originally was planning on applying as a dish washer and both Erin and I interviewed her separately and gave her the same feedback that she should aim higher; she was so passionate and driven that we knew she could find something more in line with her talents and goals. She told this to the coordinator and said she felt really good about the feedback and was going to apply for an office position. Meeting with this one student for 20 minutes may have allowed me to help set her on a better path to reach her goals and that is a really good feeling.
What is your overall takeaway from this volunteer experience?
I feel like so much of the experience is right in line with Xtreme’s values, such as through volunteering we are helping these young people get on the right path and be more prepared to reach their goals. Also, collaborating with this program is allowing us to establish a relationship that can really help the futures of these young people and I feel honored that I get to play a part.
To learn more about the NAYA center and their great work with empowering youth, visit: http://nayapdx.org/services/college-and-career-services/sunrise-east/