Staff Spotlight: Mirian Villatoro, Enrollment Coordinator III
As Veteran’s Day approaches, we are honoring Enrollment Coordinator III, Mirian Villatoro, a Vet who served in the United States Air Force Reserves for 8 years. Thank you for your service, Mirian!
Tell me about your background before coming to BBBSMB. Why were you attracted to BBBSMB as a place to work?
Aside from my military service, I most recently come from a social service and education background working in Family Service, and prior to that, TeachforAmerica, teaching 8th grade students English in the South Coast area of Massachusetts. I saw firsthand how much of a need there was for mentors and role models in both fields, which is what attracted me to BBBSMB; it’s a place where I could still work with families and help children in a different way, while being able to spend more time with my family because I work remotely.
What drew you to the Volunteer and Youth Enrollment & Match Coordinator role? How has your past work experience helped you in this role?
I was drawn to the role due to working with so many families in my past jobs, and thinking back to how many of those children and families could have really benefited from having a mentor, but didn’t know where they could get one. I recall my short time working with children in Restorative Justice in Connecticut, children who had committed a first time offense in the Criminal Justice system, and how it could have really made a difference if they had mentors like the Bigs that I have been able to match.
How do you interact with the families and Bigs you serve on a daily basis? How important is it for you to be able to speak Spanish when communicating with the families you serve?
I do the home visits with families and the volunteer interviews, processing them through to get them matched. I have really enjoyed being able to continue to serve Spanish Speaking families here in the South Coast; I feel it’s important as they are often under served due to language. We have been able to enroll more families not just due to my Spanish speaking skills, but also my teammate Jenny Bautista, Senior Community Engagement & Recruitment Coordinator, who is able to schedule those families.
You have led the enrollment work in our New Bedford region. Tell us more about your experience in the New Bedford community and what this last year serving the New Bedford region has meant for you.
The most exciting part of my job is being able to lead enrollment in the area of the New Bedford region. It is a great feeling to do volunteer interviews and to already be thinking of the kids I have on the waitlist due to being the only enrollment person in the area. With that said, there is still a lot of work to be done and still a big need for male volunteers in the area, as we have a lot of boys waiting for over a year to be matched.
You work primarily from a remote location. What is that like for you? How did the remote design of the job influence your decision to join BBBSMB?
To be honest this is my first remote job, EVER! It has been a big change from always leaving my home early in the morning to go in to work, to waking up having time to sit and have a coffee at home and get started. As a mother to my son Kingston, who is 5 years old now, it means the world to be able to work remote and spend more time with him. I highly recommend it; to be able to still go out and do home visits and interviews, and spend time at home working on reports is great.
What does it mean to work for BBBSMB?
There is something that has always stayed with me that my supervisor at BBBSMB said to me when I first started. He said, “If it wasn’t for our job, these two people (the Big and the Little) would have never had the opportunity to meet.” That was powerful to me because when I hear about the stories and the amount of support a Big has in a Little’s life, I think of how much my job matters. We play a small part in the Big difference that having a mentor makes in a child’s life.
When do you feel like you are making a difference while doing your job?
Match Meetings of course! I love to introduce the Big to their Little and their family. Everyone is mostly nervous, it’s the first time meeting each other, and I enjoy breaking the ice and introducing them. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to get them to be officially matched, so it’s a great feeling.
How would you describe the culture at BBBSMB?
Despite being remote staff, BBBSMB does a good job of involving and building a sense of culture. Not only do I do Enrollment, but I am also a part of the Racial Equity Committee at the agency, which is something I am really passionate about. Despite not being able to physically be in the office, I join meetings through Google Hangout and feel like I can always reach out to staff for support.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering coming to work for BBBSMB?
I really love what I do. I think in order to be successful as a remote staff you have to have a good work ethic. There are a lot of moving pieces in our job, but know that the end result of you being able to make matches can really change and have an impact on a child’s life.
In regards to your Veteran status…
What military branch did you serve in?
I served in the United States Air Force Reserves for 8 years. My job was Command and Control.
How has your experience in the military shaped who you are today?
I joined the military in 2011 right after graduating college, and joined simply because I wanted to serve my country. I never imagined having the experiences I did in my time in service, as the military showed me an unparalleled work ethic and leadership skills. I am proud to have had the opportunity to serve. I can also happily say I met my significant other in the military by being stationed in Mississippi together.
What does it mean to you to have served in our military?
It means a lot to me to be able to serve our country. I come from a family of immigrants who came here from El Salvador in search for a better life and more opportunities. The United States gave my sister and me those opportunities. I became the first one in my family to serve in the United States military, and I feel honored to be a part of that 1 % who volunteered. It was a really empowering experience that I am proud of. I got to serve with an amazing group of people, learn from them, and really grow myself.