Jo Ann has worked with New York Cares for over 10 years in the role of team leader in which she assists homebound seniors each month and helps rebuild libraries in the New York City’s public schools four times a year. She has worked as a math tutor with Literacy Partners, a not-for-profit organization that provides free community-based adult and family literacy programs to ensure that all adults have access to quality education needed to fully realize their potential as individuals, parents, and citizens.
For Jo Ann Hernandez, a senior associate with Deloitte’s Financial Advisory Services (FAS) practice for three years, volunteerism is a part of her DNA.
“I do a lot of volunteer work and really enjoy giving back to my community by helping others,” said Jo Ann.
“It makes me feel good to know that I am making a difference not only on that student, but on future generations to come. Each of these students will not only encourage their fellow peers to apply to college, but they are empowered to encourage their brothers and sisters and the children that they will have in the future to attend college. That’s a powerful impact!”
About a year and half ago, Deloitte announced its alliance with College Summit, an organization that focuses on helping under-privileged students prepare for college. College Summit recruits volunteers each summer for workshops that help rising high school seniors prepare their college applications and essays. Deloitte enlisted the support of its professionals for the workshops in 2007, and Jo Ann Hernandez was one of the first to sign up to serve as a writing coach. She was placed at the West Virginia State University Workshop in 2007.
“I really saw it as an opportunity to make a difference in a student’s life. I was actually a first-generation college student in my family, and I know how important it is to have the knowledge of applying to schools. I had mentors to help me with this process, and my way of thanking them is working with these students,” said Jo Ann.
Jo Ann was so enthusiastic and passionate about her 2007 workshop experience that she not only volunteered to serve as a writing coach for the 2008 workshop at St. John’s University (her alma mater), but also was very active in the recruitment of College Summit volunteers in Deloitte’s Northeast region.
For 2008, Jo Ann hosted two College Summit recruitment breakfasts, in which she invited Deloitte personnel to learn more about College Summit and the workshops. In addition, anywhere Jo Ann had an opportunity to speak about her experience, she was willing to share it. She spoke at a web cast on the program and even discussed it one-on-one with many of her FAS colleagues.
“My experience at the 2007 College Summit workshop really stayed with me for such a long period of time. This was not an experience that I just wanted to keep to myself. I wanted everyone to experience working with these great students,” said Jo Ann.
Because of her enthusiasm she was one of the reasons, 50% of the Deloitte professionals who volunteered came from the Northeast.
A FAS colleague said, “Jo Ann Hernandez deserves all of the credit for the FAS participation in the Northeast. Without her commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm for the program, I don’t think I would have volunteered.”
Another FAS colleague wrote: “Just wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in College Summit with you all. I can't tell you the sense of fulfillment I had from this weekend. Those kids are something else! I'm completely exhausted from the weekend's intense schedule, but I'm completely grateful for any chance to make a positive impression on our youth. You constantly told me how the program will make a lasting impression on me and I have to tell you that you're 100% right.”
Jo Ann has not only made an impact on the recruitment of Deloitte College Summit volunteers, she also left a great impression on her students at the workshops. Recently, she heard that one of her students from the 2007 West Virginia State University workshop received a scholarship because of the essay that she helped him draft last summer.
Jo Ann exhibits the quality of a true leader. A leader inspires others to serve, and Jo Ann has inspired her fellow colleagues to volunteer for College Summit workshops. Her commitment and passion to helping these students has also been greatly appreciated and has inspired most of them to go to college.