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Meet Alyssa Alston, Volunteer Application Reader


It would not be possible for Point Foundation to review the nearly 2,000 annual applications for Point Scholarships, without the help of volunteer applications readers. Alyssa Alston, who lives in Maryland and works in education policy, is one of those readers. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Spelman College and a master’s in public policy from George Washington University. She shares why she volunteers her time to help with the application process:

I came across Point Foundation online several years ago and wanted to  become a mentor. I later read about  queer advocacy at my alma mater, Spelman College, including the creation of annual Pride Week celebrations. One of the Afrekete (Spelman’s GSA) leaders was a Point Scholar, and that reminded me to apply to become a mentor. However, because the mentor  matching  period  was during  a different  time  of year, Point asked if I would like to volunteer as an application reader in the meantime.

I was excited to be able to jump in and help right away for what sounded like a manageable and short-term volunteer opportunity.  I am not sure what I initially expected to get out of reading applications. Now I find it to be an essential way to stay in touch with both the accomplishments and struggles that queer youth across the country are facing as they pursue education and careers.

Over the years, the state of the economy has created additional financial trouble  for the students. Yet that has not dampened  their optimism, commitment  to hard work, and initiative; the same qualities I admire in the work of my Spelman sisters who helped direct me to Point. By reading these applications, I learn so much about the multidimensional strengths of our country’s future leaders. I have also been inspired to be  more  involved  in  community  service, both  queer  advocacy and other causes.

Point offers mentorship, leadership development and community service training to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) students.

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