Mentor Reflections: Amisha Ray

Annie KennedyPrograms, Volunteers

Amisha Ray via LinkedIn

In honor of National Volunteer Week, we talked to mentor and Associates Board (AB) member Amisha Ray about her time at WITS. Amisha’s service runs the gamut; from mentoring in-person to volunteering virtually to now sitting on the Executive Committee of the AB, her commitment to our students and our mission runs deep. Read on to learn more about how Amisha came to WITS, her experience on the AB, and why you should pick up a copy of Shantaram.

What brought you to WITS?

I started volunteering at WITS through my former employer, Jenner & Block’s, Mid-Day Mentoring program, where I went to Fairfield every other week and split into small groups to read to a group of third graders. After my first year of seeing confidence grow in the kids I worked with and one of my kid’s describing reading as a “superpower,” I saw how WITS helps kids find agency and confidence in reading. After I volunteered with Fairfield in person for one year and Talcott virtually for one year, I joined the AB a year and a half ago and love being in a community of young professionals that work together for a greater cause.

Can you tell us about a favorite memory you have of reading with a student?

So many. I loved the books where you learned how things were made –particularly chocolate– because the kids and I learned a lot from the process. I also loved the comic books and how kids were eager to keep turning pages to see how the story developed.

What has your experience been like as an Associates Board member?

Fantastic. I joined the AB a year and a half ago and love being in a community of young professionals that work together for a greater cause. The meetings are informative on WITS’ mission and provide ample opportunity to network with young professionals throughout Chicago. We also have a lot of fun with baseball games, dart and ping pong outings, and fundraisers at one of my favorite fried chicken restaurants, Parson’s [Chicken and Fish].

Now that you have taken on a leadership role within the AB, what are you most looking forward to?

To see the inner workings of the Associates Board and all the planning and teamwork it takes to have the group work functionally together towards the fundraising goals.

What are you doing when you’re not at WITS?

I love cooking, exploring museums, working out or playing tennis, and traveling.

What is your last favorite book that you’ve read and why?
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

I’m currently reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts because of the page-turning writing, the imagery, and the way Roberts makes you feel like you are living with the protagonist who goes from a life of crime to a hero while seeing the many sides of India. Highly recommend it if you are looking for a good read!

How has volunteering at WITS impacted your idea of what it means to be of service?

WITS helped me see the power of consistency and patience when working with others will lead to the growth of both people, because you are taking the time to be present and work and learn from each other.