Cassandra Gray and Allyse Wirkkala met during their volunteer training in September 2013, built a connection, and have been volunteering together ever since. Cassandra and Allyse fill a room with positive energy, patience, and acceptance each time they volunteer with a group of girls. They are strong, smart, and bold women and an absolute delight to work with each cycle.
Why did you choose to volunteer with Girls Inc.?
Allyse: “As a young woman, I know that girls are routinely bombarded with negative role models and images. At times, it seems as if society may lead a girl to believe that her only contributing factor to society is her looks, but with Girls Inc. programs it is reinforced that girls and women have many facets. The programs provide an opportunity to overturn stereotypes and encourage girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Girls Inc. truly has a mission that I proudly support and that is why I chose to volunteer with the organization.”
What have you enjoyed about volunteering with a friend?
Cassandra: “Allyse and I met during training and have stuck together ever since. It has been great to get to know her. She is my cheerleader when I am tired and, hopefully, I do the same for her. We know each other well now and can communicate with just a look or a hand signal. Also, I think Allyse’s ability to just say ‘yes’ and be fearless in front of the girls makes her a great volunteer and person.”
What was your favorite part to teach in your program?
Allyse: “My favorite part to teach is the Redefining Beauty program, as it reinforces that beauty is more than skin deep. For me, it is very important for a young girl to know that she is beautiful inside and out. I think this program does a great job reinforcing this message.”
Is there a facilitation memory that stands out to you?
Cassandra: “I had a girl in my program who was younger than the rest and she couldn’t quite read by herself. So, I was reading the final assessment with her and all of a sudden I realized that she had actually learned what we were hoping they would learn. I was so proud of her!”
Share a tip for volunteer program facilitators about working as a team.
Allyse: “When working as a team, it is very important to communicate with each other. If you are not completely comfortable with a topic or situation, then let your co-facilitator know. The beauty of working as a team is that you both can utilize each other’s strengths to maximize the program’s goals.
Interested in inspiring girls and meeting amazing women from our community like Allyse and Cassandra? Apply to volunteer today!