December’s Volunteer of the Month: Mallory H.
Mallory began volunteering with NRS in 2019 as a way to make an impact in the lives of youth in crisis. Having experienced homelessness as a child, Mallory knows NRS’s mission and programs are extremely important.
She understands from being a student, and eventually a teacher, that youth experiencing housing insecurity need more than schools can offer. With an interest in observing and learning from the different ways teens develop into young adults, Mallory enjoys volunteering with NRS, an organization that is uniquely positioned to talk directly to young people during this critical stage in development.
During the years that her family experienced homelessness, Mallory never revealed their situation to classmates over concerns that she might be bullied or socially isolated. She also didn’t feel comfortable discussing it with teachers because she didn’t know how she and her family might be judged, or if they’d face consequences.
Today, Mallory credits legislation like the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act, which funds support services for students experiencing homelessness. The Act, she feels, helped her family break the cycle of poverty by providing opportunities for post-high school education. Mallory graduated from college with a degree in Biological Sciences and then completed a Master’s program in Secondary Education.
Over the years, Mallory has found it most shocking that there is a noticeable lack of resources made accessible to youth without the consent of a legal guardian, while more and more barriers have developed. She finds it heartbreaking to hear from a young person who has previously been involved with Child Protective Services, but has seen little change, or young people who are returned to their abusers. Still, Mallory remains hopeful that organizations like NRS will continue to help fill in the gaps for young people who may struggle to identify that they are in crisis, or lack understanding of the jargon used by youth-facing organizations.
Currently, Mallory works as an engineer with Cro Metrics, helping nonprofits and businesses create or improve their websites to better serve their clientele. This shift from educator to engineer grew out of a love for coding, which she uncovered during her years as a teacher.
When Mallory isn’t working at Cro Metrics or volunteering at NRS, it’s likely she can be found helping other nonprofit organizations. Mallory supports Nourishing Hope (formerly Lakeview Pantry), a dynamic social services organization that provides food, mental wellness counseling, and other services. She also lends her time and talents to Clearviction, which provides tools and guidance for people with convictions looking to clear their criminal record.
We are thankful to volunteers like Mallory who use their lived experiences to inform the way they interact with the young people who reach out to the National Runaway Safeline.