Below you will find more information on the positions within our board. Our board members share what kind of tasks they need to complete and their personal experiences as a board member. Generally, every board member holds the position for at least one year.
As the chair of the organization I am responsible for the proper functioning of the organization. It sounds like a tough job, but it is a lot of fun! The chair works with every single board member closely and guides and helps them wherever he/she can. Additionally, the chair leads the weekly board meetings and makes sure we are all on top of what is happening within the organization. I regularly hold individual meetings with the board members to hand out projects that are crucial to the organization as well as to track their progress and discuss any issues they are facing.
The position is a very social job and it has allowed me to hone my management and leadership skills. Sometimes it is a bit crazy to believe how, as chair, you are ultimately responsible for 9 board members, 40+ volunteers and 80+ students (these are the statistics for my year)! Of course, this incredible team has made it very easy for me to manage the organization and the success we have booked I dedicate to them.
The vice-chair position is quite dynamic and the tasks are different every time. I help the chair by providing an extra set of eyes on matters. Additionally, the vice-chair helps other board members wherever possible and needed. Keeping an overview on everything is thus very important in this position.
Continue reading to find out more about Fee’s second position as Outreach Coordinator!
Fee A’mema and Elena Hellner
CONTACT FEE OR ELENA
The outreach position is responsible for two main tasks: fundraising and partnerships. We are a non-profit organization which means that our goal is not to gain financially from our work. However, we still need money to keep our organization going. One of our main pillars is to keep our language classes as accessible as possible, which means we want to keep the classes for free, provide books, and create events which facilitate the integration of our guest-students. We are constantly looking for ways to fund these activities.
Our second task is creating and maintaining partnerships. We wish to reach and help as many people as possible, in order to do so we look for partners that can further help our guest-students integrate. An example is a collaboration event based around cultures, cv and motivation letter building, job coaching, and integration. This position requires strong communication and collaboration skills. It is truly inspiring to work with organizations that are willing to help us financially and have a similar goal in mind as us. It is also quite important to have patience, not everyone replies as quickly as desired and funding applications can take a while before you see the actual goal you were working towards. Nevertheless, it is rewarding work.
Ramona Elkmann, Bethany Josh and Maya Poeran
CONTACT RAMONA, BETHANY OR MAYA
The Academic Coordinator position is responsible for organising and overseeing the classes at Reach & Teach. The responsibilities entail recruiting and interviewing potential teachers, testing and placing the students to the correct language level, overseeing the distribution of teaching materials, conducting teacher training, assessing the quality of each classroom, and being the contact point for all of our 35 teachers and 88 students.
During the Corona period, the Academic Coordinators are also in charge of ensuring the facilitation and smooth operation of online teaching. The Academic Coordinator role is essential for the effective and quality-driven delivery of Reach & Teach’s language classes.
Beyond the position responsibilities, the Academic Coordinator(s) is also a member on the board. The role of a board member includes participation in weekly meetings in which the board discusses, to name a few, the financial management, legal governance, and direction of Reach & Teach as a whole. Each board member is responsible for cooperation with each other and ensuring the smooth operation of Reach & Teach in all aspects.
“I really like meeting new people from different cultures and countries. During my time at Reach & Teach, I had the opportunities to learn and listen to the stories about people’s lives. These stories gave me another perspective of the things that happen in the world.”– Maya
“What I enjoy most about being the treasurer at Reach and Teach, is that I also get to work alongside the other board members to work on professionalizing Reach and Teach. I enjoy the meetings where we brainstorm and discuss ideas and find ways to continually improve our organization, and leave behind a well-organized organization for the upcoming board.”
As treasurer, you are responsible for the financial aspect of the organization. Tasks include keeping track of the cash book, making payments, keeping track of finances and the financial position of the foundation, making an annual financial report, preparing the budget, and more. Additionally, the treasurer has to approve all payments that other board members need to make.
Specifically within Reach and Teach, the treasurer is also responsible for creating statistical analyses. This is important to keep track of the students, teachers and other volunteers that are involved with Reach and Teach. The treasurer gathers the data and transforms it into statistical reports.
“This position requires quite a bit of creativity, and I also have the freedom to take initiative and design and work on my own projects within the realm of PR. This is a great position for me to develop myself as a member of a team but also professionally and creatively.”
As the Public Relations Manager I am responsible for the overall public image of our organization. This means I control and also create the content on our social media and website, but also look outside the box to create other interesting ways to advertise Reach & Teach and what we do. Some projects within PR also require me to take initiative in reaching out to members of the organization, as for example with the ‘Humans of Reach & Teach’ project in which I interview people of the organization and write their stories to be posted on our online platforms.
Due to the current pandemic however, most work is done from behind my laptop screen so I also need to think outside the box to continue creating content. I also work together with the rest of the board members to find solutions to other functional problems and get their input and ideas for projects I might be working on. In the weekly board meetings, I try to contribute to discussions so that we can create solutions for matters that cannot be solved individually.
“What I like most about this position is that I can see true friendships develop, and help people broaden their perspectives. Finally, I enjoy the weekly board meetings as I learn a lot from the brainstorm sessions, critical discussions and overall collaboration; it teaches me how many different things an NGO entails.”
As Buddy Coordinator, one is in charge of the Buddy Program. Reach & Teach aims to help newcomers in the Netherlands not only by providing those interested with free language classes, but by going a step further. We want to help people to feel at home in the Netherlands, but without a social network this can sometimes be challenging. Therefore, anyone looking for a friend to do fun activities with or practice languages with can sign up as a buddy seeker. In turn, anyone who wants to make new friends, broaden their (cultural) horizon, or practice a language can sign up as a buddy volunteer. As Buddy Coordinator one processes the applications for the buddy seekers- and volunteers. Taking in consideration hobby’s, availability and other preferences, the Buddy Coordinator then starts the matching process. Once a buddy pair is matched, they will have their first meeting together with the Buddy Coordinator to get to know each other. After three months, a buddy pair has a check-up meeting with the Buddy Coordinator, and apart from that they are free to meet as often as they want.
As a Buddy Coordinator one needs to be organized, good with people, and well in communication. The Buddy Coordinator works close together with Outreach when possible partnerships in Buddy Programs occur. Furthermore, the Event Manager and Buddy Coordinator work together to organize social and professional events for the buddies.
When organising an event it is fundamental to consider: its goal, what you want to achieve with it and who will it be targeted at; its nature, what it’s theme is, which partners you want involved or what the location or platform will be.
As an Events manager I am responsible for brainstorming and organizing all events within Reach and Teach. I aim to attain the organisation’s goal by creating events where one can learn more about their new home and culture and meet new people . This ranges from social events, namely pub quizzes or movie nights, to professional events such as workshops on mental health awareness or how to format a CV letter. The objective of this position is to have one social and one professional event each month. To achieve this, I work closely with all other members of the board. PR and Outreach are essential in order to get the event to the public, contact partners whom the event includes or organise fundraising. Being in contact with the Treasurer is also key to knowing how much of a budget you have available. It can be used for gifts to speakers, renting venues, buying food and drinks, etc. Other collaborations with board members include Academics, for organising the graduation of the students or Buddy Coordinator for creating events addressed at the buddy pairs.
I always look up to our weekly board meetings where we have the opportunity to share our concerns or ideas and we collectively come up with solutions and brainstorm. What I enjoy the most about my position is the freedom I have to come up with new ways of bringing people and cultures together. Anything is possible!
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