Eden Volunteer of the Month - September 2017

Jessica Cao at Eden Palms, San Jose

We are so proud of the volunteers who choose to give their time to our affordable communities and residents. You can read other stories about our volunteers at Meet Our VolunteersIf you're interested in volunteering with Eden, please go to Volunteer with Eden Housing.

Below is Eden Housing's Volunteer of the Month

Name: Jessica Cao

Property: Eden Palms, San Jose, CA

Why did you chose to volunteer with Eden Housing? As a kid, I never got the help I needed academically. My parents and siblings were too busy with their own problems, so I was on my own. However, when I moved to Eden Housing, they provided the help I needed. When I first went to Homework Club, I noticed that there were as much kids as there were in a classroom. I knew that I probably won't get the one-on-one help because of the students-to-teacher ratio. However, I saw that there were teens who were helping out as well. When I had asked them if they were working here, they responded saying, "They're just volunteering." I had always loved helping people, so this idea intrigued me. When I was old enough, I started to volunteer as much as I could. I love volunteering because it gives me the opportunity to watch the kids grow. As a volunteer, this is one of the best moments.

What have you done as a volunteer? Please describe your role and what you have worked on. As a volunteer, I help the children with their homework. My strongest subject is math, so if a student has a math question, I help them. Also, some of the kids in Homework Club have to do a summary of their reading. They would read seven pages and then write a summary about what they had just read. So, I would help the younger ones read a book of their choice, and then help them write their summary. I also try to volunteer with other after Homework Program as well such as "Tax Night" and "Be Mentor Program".

What have you learned through your volunteer experience? Have there been any surprises? In all my years of volunteering, I have realized patience is the key. As a kid growing up, volunteering seemed easy because the kids would listen and do what the adult tells them to do. However, with these kids it is different, and that is what I learned. Kids are different because of how they were raised, and I can't expect them all to listen and be obedient all the time. In fact, I came to learn to embrace these kids' differences and unique personalities. Also, another thing that I came to realize is that when I volunteer, it means I'm giving back to my community, and I don't need anything in return. In fact, the best gift I can receive from volunteering is watching the kids grow into someone they can be proud of. One thing that surprises me the most is that many people are skeptical when it comes to volunteering. When I first volunteered, people thought that I wanted something in return, but for me I just love helping out and I don't want anything in return.

What do you like best about volunteering with Eden Housing? The best thing about volunteering is that I am able to give back to my community, and I hope that with my influence, the kids will grow up and give back to the community as well. Also, volunteering allows me to meet with new people and make new friends. It is also a learning experience for me because it requires me to do my best. For me, volunteering is like a job, but with more flexibility. I would come and volunteer when I can, but if I couldn't make it, I would let my supervisor know ahead of time. When I come and volunteer, I take it very seriously and make sure I do what I need to do, but also have fun doing it.

Are there any tips that you would share for someone else who is considering volunteering? Like I said, patience is the key when it comes to volunteering with the kids. Kids are our future, and we need to make sure that these kids get all the help they need whether it is academically or socially. Also, take volunteering seriously, even though it isn't a job it is a responsibility. Most of the time people don't take volunteering seriously because it isn't their job, but people need to realize that volunteering is important because it is about giving back to the community.

Tell us something we may not know about you. Any interesting facts you’d like to share about your life? I started to love volunteering because of my siblings. In my household, my sisters had shown me how to volunteer. When I first volunteered, there was this feeling of happiness that I could not describe when I saw the smile on people's faces. It was that moment when I realized how much I love volunteering. In my future, I know that if I had time, I would use it to volunteer. 


If you're interested in volunteering with Eden, please go to Volunteer with Eden Housing.


For more information on how to become a volunteer or to attend a volunteer orientation, please email Leah.Cerri@edenhousing.org or call (510) 247-8138

COMPANIES AND GROUPS: Interested in volunteer opportunities for corporate partners and groups?

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eden housing does not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, or any other arbitrary basis.