This National Volunteer Month, we celebrate the impact of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) volunteers, with 3,830 individuals serving 9,730 hours globally this fiscal year! We sat down with Anthony Curtis, Senior Manager of Volunteer Programs at NFTE, to learn more about his experience and the importance of volunteering in youth entrepreneurship programs!

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career coordinating volunteers and working in the non-profit sector?

A: After working as an educator for a decade, I wanted to make a difference outside of the classroom. I discovered the power of connecting diverse individuals for a common good during a significant volunteer-student immersion experience. I continue to witness this power at NFTE, where people from different walks of life connect through volunteerism. I believe that education is a shared responsibility, and corporations play a crucial role in shaping today’s youth, who are the future workforce.

Q: Can you share any memorable or inspiring moments you’ve experienced while working with volunteers?

A: One of my proudest moments was planning, recruiting, and executing the first OWN IT Summit at NFTE in October 2022. This virtual event is a merged networking session that allows students to learn, network, and engage with a diverse group of entrepreneurs. One of our attendees, Josh Kreuger, a NFTE alum and the 2023 National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge winner, said this about his experience: “The OWN IT Summit was a fantastic event for young entrepreneurs like me. It gave me insight into REAL people who started REAL businesses and inspired me to keep persevering with my business.” This type of engagement is why the NFTE volunteer team and I do what we do.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most significant impact that volunteers can have on the lives of the students you serve?

A: Whether it’s a listening ear, words of wisdom, or buying a student’s product-any support a volunteer offers to a NFTE student during their entrepreneurial journey is important.

Q: What advice would you give to someone looking to volunteer their time to support youth entrepreneurship programs?

  • Work with the team leading the volunteer efforts to see where support is needed most and how you fit in.
  • When working with youth, listen and understand their passion, ideas, plan, and aspirations first.
  • Share your volunteer experience with others in your network or on social media to encourage more dedicated volunteers.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share about the importance of volunteering and the work NFTE does?

A: Whether you can volunteer once a year, four times a year, or once a month, take time to volunteer virtually or in-person. I also want to encourage anyone reading this blog to sign up as one of our volunteers this spring.

I also have to thank the current NFTE Volunteer Team: Vanee Brown, Cheyanne Ornelas, Evan Lichman, and Lili Pichardo. This is an incredible team, and our dedication, innovation, and care are evident in everything we do. I’d also like to thank past NFTE Volunteer Team members, including Isabella Xu, Ann Nguyen, Rachel Hara, and Charles Miller, who have worked with us over the past four years to bring NFTE volunteerism to the next level.

This National Volunteer Month, consider joining the NFTE volunteer community and making a difference in the lives of young entrepreneurs. To get involved, sign up for one of NFTE’s regional volunteer opportunities below:

3: West Region (CA, WA, OR, ID, NV, UT, CO, NM):

4: New England Region (VT, MA, CT, RI):

5: Midwest Region (NE, MO, IL, WI, MI, OH):

6: Southeast Region (AL, GA, SC, NC, FL):

Please note: If you are an employee from EY, Santander, or Zuora, please check your company’s respective volunteer management system first to sign up for a NFTE volunteer event.