Boston Partners in Education is always recruiting volunteer academic mentors. We search for volunteers from the community and local businesses. The opportunity to work in a classroom in the Boston Public Schools (BPS) appeals to many different people, from all walks of life.
This week is National Volunteer Week and each day we will profile a different person who represents one of the many types of volunteers who work in BPS through Boston Partners in Education.
Today you can read about Eric Hautala, an Assistant Vice-President, Business Resiliency Manager working at J.P. Morgan on business continuity and disaster recovery for businesses within the Americas. Last year, J.P. Morgan established a Volunteer of the Year recognition program to reward the most outstanding of their volunteers for their dedication to their communities. This year, Eric was one of 20 individuals from a firm of over 300,000 employees to receive the honor.
Eric has been a Power Lunch volunteer for six years, first working with students at the William Blackstone Elementary School in the South End and now at the Oliver Hazard Perry K-8 School in South Boston.
Why did you choose this organization?
I was informed of the opportunity to volunteer with Boston Partners in Education when there were only a few employees from the firm volunteering with the organization. The person coordinating the experience was moving on and asked if I would take it and run with it as much as I was able. I saw it as an opportunity to expand and provide support to this majorly impactful program.
How many kids have you served with us?
I followed one student for two years, so I think in total I’ve worked with five students during my six years.
How do you feel your experience in the corporate world has influenced the way you approach working with your mentees?
I think volunteering is part of our culture. I’m just extending that to say I can make a difference now in these types of programs by taking advantage of the way corporations have programmatic and structured ways to get involved.
Volunteering in this way offers the chance to see another area, the education field, from the financial field. For a relatively small time commitment, this offers a great benefit and considering the demands we all face, we can appreciate the partnership of this volunteer group. Our J.P. Morgan group for Power Lunch is a team – it’s a team-building effort.
What other charitable work, if any, do you do?
Before Power Lunch I did MCAS tutoring, but this partnership with Boston Partners for Power Lunch really has been my focus. I’m now very involved in volunteer leadership at the firm as a result of my leadership through Power Lunch.
Any inspiring stories?
There was a day with my student this year where I happened to ask him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He answered saying, “A BC hockey player.” He knows what he wants and you can tell. When I ask him things he always answers very securely. It’s telling, because you know he can get something from the program, but he also already has an affinity for reading. I’m glad I have the opportunity to meet so many types of students – I like to tailor my style to their learning style and have fun doing it.
What do you like the most about mentoring?
I think that you can provide the right level of support and partnership helping students with challenges. They are going to learn and are going to see differences. They will see how corporations work, meet new people and see new ways of thinking and getting through those challenges. Power Lunch offers an opportunity for these students to progress and to have someone supporting what they are going through.