By Adrianna Nehme, Communications Assistant
“Even though I was born in the United States, my family is from Mexico and they taught me Spanish as my first language, so in Kindergarten I had to learn English from scratch. I wish for the students at FORA to get the chance to accomplish whatever they want to in life, just as I was given the opportunity to do so by my family who came to the US in order to give me a better life.” —Melina
Melina Estrada has a wide range of volunteer experience, from providing food to those who are homeless through a program at her university, to being a virtual assistant, to volunteering at her hometown's food pantry. After learning about FORA through the internet, she committed because she saw it as an opportunity to work with youth she could relate to.
Each day, Melina is impressed by how intelligent the young students she tutors are, as well as how much potential they hold to follow their dreams. The highlight of her experience has been witnessing how quickly some of her students have advanced in their reading levels, which she believes is a result of the dedication that the FORA staff puts in.
In her free time, Melina enjoys trying new makeup looks on herself. She also enjoys learning new languages (currently Korean and Mandarin), because she loves getting a more in-depth understanding of different cultures. Since her experience of tutoring with FORA, Melina has been inspired to someday use the resources she has to develop a program that also supports refugees.
For those who would like to volunteer or tutor in the future, Melina highlights the importance of finding genuine enjoyment in seeing others thrive. She says that the true reward in volunteering is seeing your work help others and creating an environment where others can shine.