Scholarship Day 2016: The Volunteers Who Make it Happen


Volunteer Lindsey with Manual Arts senior Maria on Scholarship Day 2016.

826LA’s 4th annual Scholarship Day in March was a huge success thanks in part to the wisdom and dedication of our volunteers.

That afternoon we sat down with two of those volunteers: Lindsey Esplin, and former Manual Arts High School teacher Miguel Roura, both of whom helped students complete at least two scholarship essays. Read more about their experience with us here.


How long have you been volunteering with 826LA, and what made you want to start?
I’ve been volunteering with 826LA for a while, and [for Scholarship Day specifically] I got a phone call asking if I would be interested in helping out.

I have a background is in social work, and it’s nice to volunteer because it’s nice to be able to offer a little bit of assistance in places where help is needed.

Did you have anyone helping you throughout high school, to prepare you for college?
I actually did not have anyone who helped me with my college applications. I had the basic high school guidance counselor but they definitely didn’t do this kind of work. At the same time, I felt like I didn’t need it. It never crossed my mind that it would be useful to have an adult read over my stuff or go over applications with me, we just didn’t have it.

Is that part of what made you want to go into social work, so you could be that person for other people?
I think so, yeah. It’s cool to see the gears turning in someone else and feel like you’re helping them a little bit. It’s fulfilling to see that “oh, I helped you by reading over with you what you wrote.”


Volunteer and former teacher Miguel helps Manual Arts student Steven with his essays on Scholarship Day 2016.


How were you introduced to 826LA? What made you want to volunteer?
When I was a teacher, 826LA came and helped me at a difficult time. When we opened up Mendez [High School in Boyle Heights], we didn’t have a lot of resources, so I’m very thankful for the organization. I like what they did, and although I’m done with teaching, it always feels good to come back and work one-on-one with kids, and help them out with their thoughts.

And you actually went to high school here at Manual Arts?
Yeah, yeah 50 years ago. I was here for one semester, and I was kicked out of my old school so I had to come here, and I played football. I was always out playing football.

Did you have anyone helping you throughout high school, to prepare you for college?
In high school yeah, there were teachers who helped me, and I was telling [my student] Steven today that everybody needs to help humanity. I was helping him and now he’s going to help somebody else.

Interested in volunteering with 826LA like Lindsey and Miguel? Click here for more information.

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