Our dedicated volunteers come from near and far—but June “Volunteer of the Month” Nicolei Gupit may outdistance everyone. Over the several years she’s been a volunteer, Nicolei has lived in the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan (where she’s now resides, teaching elementary, middle and high school students) while she still volunteers for KidWorks.
In fact, you might call Nicolei a “digital volunteer”—proving that there are opportunities to volunteer with us online, virtually and remotely.
Being thousands of miles away and in different time zones presents no hurdles for this talented volunteer. Since 2015, Nicolei has used her natural talents in graphic design to help us produce materials that include our annual and impact reports, Foundation for Success printed program, PowerPoint presentations and email blasts, as well as other pamphlets and brochures.
Nicolei was first introduced to KidWorks by Lisa Gels, our Manager of Partnerships & Donor Relations, when Nicolei was exploring ways to use her talents as a volunteer.
“Nicolei has been a real gift from God for KidWorks,” Lisa says. “She is super talented and very devoted to us and those we serve.”
Nicolei also works closely with Beckie White, our Manager of Marketing & Communications. "I appreciate Nicolei's willingness to help out whenever possible, even though she is literally halfway across the world. She has such an eye for design and we are blessed to have her share her talents with KidWorks."
“What drives me to get more involved with KidWorks is the gravity and impact the journeys of the students and families have had on me at a personal level,” Nicolei says. “KidWorks students strive and achieve their goals academically and in life despite facing the social and practical challenges that poverty and crime in Santa Ana impose upon them. Although I grew up in a different city, I relate to the stories told by the kids. I attended college as a first-generation student, coming from a six-person immigrant Filipino family living in a one-bedroom apartment in a low-income neighborhood in inner-city Los Angeles.”
Nicolei brings her passion for excellence in graphic design and art –what she calls “my creative pursuits”--to everything she does at KidWorks.
“I became involved in art and digital media as early as elementary school,” she explains. “I was developing websites in middle school, and in high school began winning awards for my artwork, including the honor of having my work shown at a local gallery.”
Nicolei strongly relates to KidWorks’ mission that all students should graduate from high school and go on to a college or university.
“In eighth grade, I told my teacher that I didn’t think college was a possibility for me,” she says. “But in the same way KidWorks guides students, I received help to apply for scholarships and colleges. I attended Williams College in Massachusetts, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art, graduating with honors, and went on to study art in Rome.”
We are very grateful that our wonderful “long distance” volunteer shares her gifts with us in such a creative and meaningful way. Please join all of us at KidWorks in warmly congratulating Nicolei on being named June Volunteer of the Month.
If you would like more information about remote volunteer opportunities, click below to learn more.
By Glenn Leibowitz, volunteer writer