Volunteering: It just made sense to me
Rachel knows what she’s good at. During those formative years when most children are dreaming about being a firefighter or doctor, Rachel spent her playtime with a cash register, dreaming of counting money when she grew up.
By no means the typical child, Rachel has her parents to thank for instilling fine social sensibilities in addition to her education in numbers. Rachel’s father was Chinese, was raised by a foster family, and encountered moments of racism in his upbringing. He was a gentle, humble man, who put himself through dental school and wanted his children to understand the meaning of hard work. Although Rachel’s parents had the means to live other places, they purposefully chose to stay in Minneapolis and send their children to public school. Here, their children could have experiences with different races, ethnicities, and economic circumstances.
That sense of normalcy shifted when Rachel started college at the University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD). During those bustling first few weeks when freshmen are getting to know one another, Rachel was referred to as “the Asian girl,” which was not previously a useful identifier at Minneapolis public schools.
After college, Rachel spent seven years as a CPA, specializing in individual and corporate income taxes before transitioning to a job with a private healthcare organization. She knows how important her tax preparation skills are and how important is it to ‘get outside the bubble’ and help people.
Rachel keeps up her skills as a self-employment volunteer with Prepare + Prosper (P+P). She knew it would be a good fit because it allowed her to apply her experience to some more interesting and challenging tax situations. As a CPA, it was important for Rachel to know she had the support of other qualified accountants behind her, to ensure things would go smoothly.
The rewards of volunteering have been in the connections she’s made and the thanks she gets from customers.
Rachel is happy to share her skill to help people, but many of the rewards have been more personal for her. Diversity is one of the pieces Rachel likes about volunteering at P+P. Hearing the different languages, the different stories, the ways immigrants are making it in the US—reminds her of the connection we all share.
Rachel knows how important it is to get outside her bubble. She is amazed by how the network of volunteer and staff bridges the gap between knowledge, generations, and backgrounds.
Volunteering gives her confidence in her ability to meet new people and do new things, and that keeps her coming back.
Learn more about our volunteer opportunities and how to get involved.