Volunteer Stories

Every day, all across New England, Ascentria volunteers give of themselves to make a difference in the lives of the people that we serve. We applaud you, and we appreciate the generosity and the kindness of your hearts! 

Tell us about your volunteer experience. Share your story


Leona Martin’s Second Act!

Leona Martin’s Second Act! Volunteering as a mentor at Ascentria's Ruth House makes perfect sense to Leona. Although many years have passed since she was a teenage mother, she still vividly remembers the challenges she faced and the emotional pain that she felt.  Fortunately for Leona, her mother was very supportive and stood by her. She didn’t judge Leona, and often assured her by saying “We’ll get through this.” She discouraged Leona from marriage and took care of her baby so that Leona could continue her education. Looking back Leona recalled, “I think that the emotional pain gave me the drive to keep moving forward. There were bumps in the road, but I made it!” Read more...

Community Volunteers Help Refugees to Learn about American Culture

Community Volunteers Help Refugees to Learn about American Culture The Expanded Cultural Orientation Program is a new initiative through Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services and AmeriCorps. The program is designed to provide assistance to newly arrived refugees who are in the first 90 days of their resettlement and is being offered at Ascentria’s Services for New Americans office in Westfield, MA. The program teaches refugees about US culture, the English language, laws, healthcare, safety, banking, employment, housing and other important aspects of life in the USA. Read more...

Volunteer Spotlight - Ken High

Volunteer Spotlight - Ken High Ken High is grateful to have the opportunity to volunteer with Ascentria’s Services for New Americans program (SNA) in Worcester MA.  A social studies teacher at Hudson (MA) High School, Ken enjoys getting to know refugees from around the globe and is often reminded of how much we have to be thankful for in America: opportunity, freedom, safety, education and much, much more.

Currently on sabbatical from teaching, Ken is splitting his time volunteering with Ascentria and Minute Man National Park in Concord. Ken found teaching about refugees to be rewarding, but felt limited by not having any first-hand experience and was frustrated at not being able to do anything to directly help these families in need. His sabbatical is giving him a much deeper understanding of this global humanitarian issue and has helped him see how everyday Americans can make a difference. Read more...

Jake Medina - Volunteer, Donor, Advocate, and Student!

Jake Medina - Volunteer, Donor, Advocate, and Student! Jake Medina began volunteering as a tutor with Ascentria’s Unaccompanied Refugee Minors Program (URM) when he was a freshman at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. Jake is now a senior and, when looking back over the past four years, he tells us that his life has been changed through volunteering.  

Jake explains, “When I first started volunteering, I thought that I was leaving campus to help other people but before long, I realized that I was getting so much more than I was giving. Getting to know the students in the URM program, hearing their stories and witnessing their resilience and determination to move ahead in their lives has changed me. I no longer have pre-conceived notions of others and I have grown to be more empathetic and sensitive.”
Read more...

Education Empowers Achievement

Education Empowers Achievement Education empowers achievement and Ascentria empowers people. Staff, volunteers, clients, and donors all play a key role in this effort. 

Thanks to the generosity of 52 Lutheran churches that participated in Ascentria’s backpack drive at the 2015 ELCA New England Synod Assembly, and Lifesong Church in Sutton Massachusetts (MA), 298 youth being served at Ascentria will be starting the 2015 school year with a new backpack filled with school supplies. These backpacks will give children the tools and the confidence they need to be successful in school.  Read more...

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