Volunteer Spotlight: Julia Hohenstein

Julia Hohenstein is a third-year in the McIntire School of Commerce, concentrating in Finance and IT and also double-majoring in statistics. Julia is the co-chair of the Madison House Board of Directors, a board that is comprised of five student members and 10 community members. She has also volunteered with Madison House as a tutor and an income tax preparation assistant through the program CASH. Additionally, Julia participated in Alternative Spring Break during both her first and second years. Her first trip was to Portland, OR, where she worked with Portland Parks and Recreation. The following year, Julia attended the Death Valley, CA, trip where she worked with the National Parks Service. Both trips were programs that focused on environmental stewardship. Finally, Julia also serves on the Public Service Programming Board, an organization that strives to provide funding for student-run service projects that benefit the community.


My middle school offered a class where students were asked to design a charitable event or organization. Looking back, this was truly my first introduction to community service, and I now realize what a unique opportunity it was. We were given the time and resources to not only learn about community service but to turn our lessons into action. My class partnered with our local food bank and spent the year organizing a series of food drives, fundraisers, and events.


Death Valley National Park group photoThe most rewarding aspect of my community service interactions is definitely meeting the people who will directly benefit from it. There is no better feeling than seeing their reactions. That is one of the reasons I love tutoring so much. I love working with my student every week and watching them grow, watching the light bulb go off in their head when a difficult concept finally clicks, or feeling trust build as week after week we open up to each other more. I spend a lot of time now on the administrative side of things, as that is where my future interests lie, but I always try to keep a balance between any behind the scenes work and direct involvement.


In terms of the immediate future, I hope to return as a CASH (income tax preparation program) volunteer in my fourth year. I am going abroad this coming spring semester, so I am not able to volunteer this year, but that program is incredible and has such a direct economic impact on the community, so I would love to return as a volunteer. However, my overall #CommunityCommitment is to be an avid listener. Service is stagnant, and needs change. Because of this, we must never stop listening and striving to meet needs as they arise and transform.

Read the rest of this Learning In Action interview