Volunteer Spotlight: Jessica Butler for Step Up Women's Network

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Over the last few months, Causecast has been highlighting exceptional volunteers from our network of organizations. This month, they're featuring Jessica Butler and Step Up Women's Network.

As an adviser with College Wise, Jessica Butler helps Step Up Women's Network coach young women on how to get into college and prepare for future academic success. Below is Causecast's interview with this young volunteer.

How did you get involved with Step Up Women's Network?

Sometimes opportunities just come along at the right time and this was certainly one of them. My primary role as a Step Up volunteer is to serve as the College Adviser in the Young Luminaries program. As a former Admission counselor and a current College Counselor, I can provide insight into the college admission process. To help young women who have such potential to succeed, both personally and professionally, work through the somewhat grueling process of seeking out and applying to colleges is perhaps one of the most rewarding things I can do with my knowledge and experience in the field. Education is so vital - whether it's in a four year college or university, a two year associate's degree program, community college, or trade school. Wanting to do it is half the battle and when any young woman has something working against that goal of achieving a higher education - I'm thrilled to step in and do what I can to help them get there.

How has your life been enriched through your experiences?

No matter how many essays I edit or students I meet with, I never tire of helping someone apply to college. But the time of year that we do this is a grueling period. Long hours, late nights and more phone calls and emails than I can count. But every time I read an essay that one of the girls we work with at Step-Up has written or they call me squealing with delight because they received an acceptance letter I'm energized to keep going. A lot of my friends ask me how I can work all week and then get up on a Saturday morning to be at Young Luminaries for several hours. I can because I know that together we're making a difference and one day these amazing girls are going to pass it on.

And that is way better than sleeping in.

What's been your most memorable moment as a volunteer?

No one, especially a young woman, should ever be told that they can't do something or that a dream isn't worth pursuing. But, sadly, it happens every day. Knowing that I, and the other mentors who work with the girls, can show these young women that what they aspire to, what they yearn for is possible is something I am so proud of. When I speak to them, they're soaking it up, taking action and believing in themselves. I think it reminds all of us that nothing is ever worth giving up on before you give it your all. Each one of these girls deserves the chance to succeed. That together we are achieving that kind of success with Young Luminaries through Step-Up Women's Network will keep me coming back every year.

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