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VIP Volunteer Spotlight: Hank Brehman

Hank Brehman had spent 18 years of his life in Chicago when the opportunity to study abroad in India presented itself.

“The culture shock really opened my mind,” he said. “There is an entire world out there.”

Interacting with the people of India and immersing himself in their day-to-day struggles forced Hank to reexamine how his actions affected others.

“Now I think, ‘How does this impact the world?’,” Hank said. “I think from a global perspective.”

When he first arrived as a volunteer at the Violence Intervention Program, Hank began noticing many similarities between the children he met in India and Michael, a 5th grade student he currently tutors at the Mental Health Activity Center.

“At first [children] are reserved,” he said. “After weeks of teaching them, they start to open up.”

Each Friday, Hank exposes Michael to a myriad of topics that range from civic lessons on the roles of each branch of government to learning how to speak Chinese.

“I really like seeing the progress he makes,” Hank said. “He’ll relate what I’m teaching him to something I taught him before.”

Hank considers his work as a volunteer to be incredibly rewarding and credits VIP for helping him realize how much he enjoys teaching others. Currently a student at Santa Monica College, Hank hopes to pursue a career that allows him to see more of the world while leaving his mark on it.

If you are interested in volunteering or have questions about VIP’s volunteer programs, please contact Manny Caro at [email protected].

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