Sophia Applegate
Team Leader

Fairfax, VA
Youth and Social Innovation Major

I am a third year student studying Youth and Social Innovation from Fairfax, Virginia. I joined Rise Together because when I graduate, I want to work as a project manager at an organization or business similar to RiseTogether. Acting as a Team Leader this semester will provide me with experience organizing mentorship programming with volunteers as dedicated to helping others as I am! I began volunteering with RiseTogether at Walton Middle School in the Spring of 2020. As a volunteer, I engaged directly with Walton MS students in the AVID program, collaborated with fellow volunteers while grading assignments, and learned from the leadership of the program. Working in groups and one-on-one with sixth-grade students taught me important communication and relationship-building skills. For example, I learned that speaking slowly and pausing between explanations can lead to an increased understanding of course content and it also leaves the student time to voice concerns or confusion before moving to the next task. I found this to be especially beneficial with non-native English speaking students. Furthermore, I have discovered through experience that using the child’s name, asking about their day, and sharing details about myself helps to create bonds of trust and respect between the student and myself. I intend to continue these practices as a team leader in the coming year in order to set an example for other volunteers and facilitators.