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The Departments of Reach For The Stars

Written by: Nyla Nasir

Date: March 2021

Reach For The Stars is a certified 501(c)3 non-profit organization with hundreds of members worldwide. With such a large organization, it can be daunting to narrow down where you want to help out so to make it easier, here is a guide of the tasks several departments work on. You will earn certified volunteer hours for any work you do.

Tutoring Team

This is perhaps what Reach For The Stars is known for best. Tutors volunteer their time to teach and guide younger students through academics and building strong work habits & study skills. There are many areas of tutoring offered at RFTS for different subjects.

Private tutoring is offered for kindergarteners to 8th graders. One teacher is assigned to each student. This allows for more personalized learning and comfort for younger students in comparison to other options.

Who should volunteer: Individuals who like working with young kids and explaining simple concepts.

Peer tutoring is typically for older students such as high schoolers. The class ratio is one teacher to two or more students. The slightly larger class size allows for focus on strengthening group work skills.

Who should volunteer: Individuals who like to work with students slightly younger than them or about the same age and help them excel and understand areas they really enjoyed or struggled with.

AP Review Classes (Tutor or Tutor Assistant) have a ratio of two teachers to ten students. Any individual who has achieved a 4 or 5 on an AP test can teach an AP class in that subject. Oftentimes, you will have one or two other tutors to plan classes with. If you do not have time to plan a class or feel comfortable leading one, you can become a tutor’s assistant. TA’s attend class sessions and take notes, manage the class’ Google Classroom, arrange progress reports, and answer student questions.

Who should volunteer: Individuals who want to help younger “you’s” succeed on their AP exam or expand their learning in a subject they love.

Book Club sessions will be led by one or more volunteers who select an e-book on Open Library. Students will have to read parts of the book on their own time and during sessions will participate in discussions, games, quizzes, and more fun learning methods about what they read, allowing them to further their understanding of literature. This is geared towards K-8 students.

Who should volunteer: Individuals who love reading and want to help foster that passion in other young students. Must think of and execute fun, creative ways to learn.

Lesson Plans: If you don’t feel comfortable leading a class, have an ever-changing schedule, or live in a time zone incompatible with students, you can create lesson plans for tutors to follow during lessons.

Summary: We have all seen the consequences and hardships of online learning, so this personalized instruction, extra attention, and more unique way of learning than traditional school is intended to help kids worldwide in narrowing the gap between pre-COVID and present day education. For people intending to pursue a career in education, Reach for the Stars offers great ways to gain experience. If you have strong communication skills, are really friendly, and want to help out younger students who may be struggling in these unpredictable times, you should join the tutoring team!

Administration Department

This department comprises two teams: the secretary and finance teams.

First, the Secretary Team. Secretaries take notes at meetings (a note template is provided) and work with the entire RFTS core team. There is always a secretary present at every department meeting. Secretaries will be booked depending on their availability.

Who should volunteer: Individuals who are organized, can easily sum up information, and get along with a wide variety of people. This is perfect if you are interested in learning more about the different departments at RFTS and how they go about their tasks. Touch typing skills are not required but would be an asset.

Secondly, the Finance Team. Members will handle budgeting, find scholarships, manage fund-raising, and apply for grants. As RFTS is a non-profit organization, this is a very important department.

Who should volunteer: Individuals who are organized, easily understand numbers, and are logical and forward-thinking.

Human Resource Department

The HR department tries to help all volunteers in RFTS by creating presentations, ensuring volunteers like the work environment, resolving any conflicts that arise, interviewing potential volunteers, and creating informative training for RFTS members to help in real world situations, such as the recent implicit bias webinar.

Summary: Unlike popular shows like The Office where HR members are poked fun at for being dull, boring, and unfriendly, the RFTS HR department members need to be friendly, open-minded, calm, quick on their feet, creative, and glowingly positive. If you have strong interpersonal and conflict-mediating skills, you should join the HR department.

Communications Department

This department is divided into the internal team and the outreach team.

First, the Internal Team. Members promote communication within RFTS, manage the organization email, and work on outreach such as creating awesome and informative webinars for both RFTS members and the general public.

Who should volunteer: Individuals who can complete assigned tasks on time, are creative, great planners, and have strong communication skills. Although keeping up to date with tasks is important for every RFTS volunteer, it is especially important in the internal team to ensure projects run on schedule.

Secondly, the Outreach Team. Members plan events, reach out to schools letting them know of the various free resources we offer, and find partnerships and collaborations.

Who should volunteer: Individuals who can be both professional and friendly when communicating with people outside of RFTS. This team is for you if you have strong interpersonal skills.

Publishing Department

The publication department works on the RFTS newsletter and blog posts for the organization website. The publication department has many different roles: writers, editors, researchers, graphic designers, file management, and assistants.

Writers should have strong English skills and a passion for writing. They can write for both the blog page and the newsletter. Topics for a blog post can be anything the RFTS demographic will enjoy or learn from like educational topics, student life, or current events. A newsletter article will be something directly related to RFTS. If you plan on pursuing a journalism career in the future, this is perfect for building and practicing those skills.

Editors proofread the articles writers type. They have to have a sharp eye and strong grammatical skills.

Researchers gather information about a topic a writer wants to create a blog about. (Writers don’t have to use a researcher but they are there for help). They have to be able to distinguish credible information from propaganda and take organized and informative notes. It would help if you love learning about a wide variety of topics.

Graphic Designers design the layout for the RFTS newsletter. If you have strong art skills and know how to play with space, texts, fonts, colour, and images- this is for you!

File Management organizes files and sends out newsletters. This is for anyone who absolutely loves organization and doesn’t have the most time to help, but would still like to volunteer.

Assistants help department heads with whatever tasks they need to delegate. They should be well rounded, able to communicate well, and don’t shy away from responsibility or work.

Summary: If you have strong linguistic, artistic, research, or organizational skills, this department is for you! It is a department which relies on lots of collaboration, so make sure you are a team player!

Media Department

The media department has 3 teams: social media, video editing, and the website teams.

The Social Media team works on maintaining and updating RFTS accounts across multiple social media platforms.

The Video Editing team works on editing RFTS videos and podcasts. Experience with video editing is needed.

The Website Team keeps the RFTS website up to date and codes future improvements. Coding experience is necessary, however, don’t be scared if you are a beginner because you can always reach out to other members with questions. This is a very collaborative department.

In conclusion, if you love anything media/coding related or plan to pursue a media/coding career in the future, this department is perfect for you.

Events Department

The events department manages the programs RFTS offers such as the summer and winter camps. The department also brainstorms new initiatives to take on and plans bonding activities for the RFTS core team. All the programs the events department launches are meant to be fun, similar to extracurriculars.

Who should volunteer: Members have to be friendly and able to communicate with young children and students. On top of planning events, they also have to come up with new ideas, so creativity and motivation is required! For all the over-packers out there, here’s a department where you can put your forward-thinking, planning, and organizational skills to good use.

Joining RFTS

Joining any one of these departments requires strong collaboration, time-management, and dedication skills. You should be motivated, punctual, able to adhere to deadlines, creative, and have a penchant for helping others. Keep an eye on the RFTS instagram and website for when department applications are open. If your application is approved, be prepared for an interview conducted by one of our lovely members. Don’t be scared as they are all very friendly.

In the end, there are a multitude of great opportunities for people with all skills at RFTS. If you find more than one department interesting, don’t stress because if you can handle the extra work, you can be part of multiple departments at one time. Volunteering with RFTS is a great way to gain experience for future opportunities, strengthen soft skills and your resume, help and connect with people worldwide, and gain certified volunteer hours while exploring your passions. Apply now and we can’t wait to work with you!