The Importance of a Volunteer During a Pandemic

Covid-19 has impacted many people, organizations, and the way we live. AVANCE-Austin has done everything we can to ensure the safety of our staff, the families we serve, and the volunteers that help us along the way. One way, was to transition our in-person Parent-Child Education Program classes into online versions. With this significant change, AVANCE-Austin created the Digital Navigator Volunteer Program, where volunteers can help parents navigate the internet and any other technological problem that may arise. Meet one of our volunteers- Salvador Carillo!


Salvador has been volunteering as a Digital Navigator since September, assisting parents log into and navigate Zoom as well as helping them to create their own email account during our virtual program. When he isn´t volunteering, Salvador is a full-time student at UT Austin majoring in Biochemistry. He is in his junior year and preparing to apply to medical school in the summer! In his free time, he enjoys playing the guitar, exercising, watching boxing, and listening to music. We asked him a few questions and here´s what he had to say:

What brought you to volunteer at AVANCE-Austin?

My long-time mentor sent me a screenshot of the volunteer position and after further research, I learned that AVANCE-Austin was an amazing organization whose mission aligned with my values. I am dedicated to this mission because I know what an organization like AVANCE-Austin does for families. The families we work with are reminiscent of my family´s situation when I was younger and a program like this would have made such a huge impact on us. Helping Latino families realize their true potential gives me fulfilment.

Why do you Volunteer?

I volunteer to get a sense of accomplishment that is only attainable outside of a classroom setting. My goal is to eliminate health disparities in the Latino community and to advocate for more minority representation in medicine as a future physician. AVANCE-Austin brings me closer to achieving that goal every day.

What do you feel after volunteering/ how does volunteering make you feel?

I feel rewarded after volunteering. I am familiar with the situations many of these families are in, and I know that any assistance goes a long way. Imagining how much these families are going to benefit and change for the better gives me motivation.

What was your favorite toy growing up?

My favorite childhood toy was a Buzz Lightyear Action Figure. I would play with him every day and watch all of the Toy Story Movies with it.

What was your favorite childhood book?

My favorite book growing up was “No, David!” by David Shannon. It is a book about a young boy who is a troublemaker and gets into all sorts of hijinks. I thought it was the funniest book ever written at the time.

With the help and support of volunteers like Salvador, AVANCE-Austin is able to not only serve over 200 families through virtual early childhood development, parenting, and parent education, but also bridge the gap within digital equity in Austin. Learn how you can become a volunteer at AVANCE-Austin by contacting our Volunteer Coordinator, Erica Eiben at