Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah Vargas

“As a College and Scholarship Application Coach, one of the best memories I have is hearing from my high school student that she was accepted into the colleges that she had applied to. It was incredibly rewarding after weeks of preparation and fun to help her brainstorm to write short answers and essay responses. I look forward to seeing her continue to succeed as she enters college and beyond”   

-Sarah Vargas, Volunteer

Sarah has been a Breakthrough Volunteer since 2020 and is currently virtually volunteering as an Algebra & Biology tutor and College Application Coach.

What brought you to Breakthrough? How did you first hear about Breakthrough?

I first heard about Breakthrough through volunteers I spoke with while volunteering with Austin Partners In Education (pre-pandemic). They spoke highly of Breakthrough when they talked about Breakthrough’s mission and, since it aligns with my interests, it led me to apply that same week.

What about the Breakthrough program keeps you coming back?

Breakthrough’s program and members do an incredible job at inspiring students to achieve goals, short and long-term, especially in terms of their academic careers. This program shows the children of Austin (and surrounding areas) that their community cares about them and wants them to succeed. Sometimes, that’s the motivation that children need to feel validated and move forward with their goals, so I’m happy to be part of a program that offers this support.

What volunteer roles have you been involved in? Can you speak about your volunteer experience?

I currently volunteer as a College and Scholarship Application Coach and as a tutor. I began virtually volunteering during the pandemic, so my experience is not traditional, but I can definitely say that meeting with students over Zoom or Google Meets allows for more flexibility which is a great benefit for both the students and the volunteer. I also enjoy meeting using Zoom since I’m able to spend more time with students over their assignments if both of our schedules allow it. In addition, the Breakthrough staff is very quick when someone (student or volunteer) is in need of assistance, so the process runs very smoothly, even if technical difficulties arise. Overall, I enjoy virtual volunteering and, while I do miss meeting students in person, this is an excellent alternative that still provides a great amount of support for students.

How would you describe Breakthrough students?

While each student I have encountered is unique in their own ways, two characteristics they all have in common is that they persevere through difficult times and are determined to succeed. Breakthrough students are enthusiastic and ready to learn. Working with Breakthrough students creates positive, impactful, and memorable moments for both themselves and their volunteers!

Sarah Vargas

Breakthrough Volunteer