Victor Rivera says it can be difficult for people to get themselves out of poverty, but he is extending his hand in service to help individuals and their families achieve the American dream.
As a volunteer for several organizations including Prospera USA, Blue Hub Capital, and the Florida Community Loan Fund, Victor, a 57-year-old Summerville, South Carolina resident, is helping to improve the quality of life for low-to-moderate income people and communities. Connecting with thousands across the United States, Victor, a relationship manager within the business banking team at Bank of America, says the professional work he does to serve clients translates to his volunteer work.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I’m inspired to help others. I was the second out of seven kids, so I started helping others really early. I am blessed with the opportunities I have received in my life and I’m paying back for all the blessings my family and I have received. I like to help others see there are opportunities to achieve success in life.
Explain the importance of this cause.
A lot of the clients we help, including Hispanic entrepreneurs, come from primarily South and Central America where there’s a distrust of the government and the bank. We all start from the same place, but sometimes, people don’t know or understand how to use their resources to get themselves out of poverty. Especially in our country, brown and Black communities and families feel stuck because of the color of their skin or where they came from. By seeing me, a Hispanic that came from the same place, I can hopefully inspire others.
Describe your volunteerism.
I’m really passionate about creating more opportunity for low-to-moderate income people.
- Blue Hub: I am a member of the Board of Directors and I also chair the Loan Committee. Blue Hub’s community-based lending model supports low-to-moderate income schools throughout the American south, most recently supporting a 100% LMI school to create education equality to 744 children.
- Florida Community Loan Fund: I am a member of the Board of Directors and also the secretary for the board.
- Prospera USA: As a member of the Central Florida Board of Directors, I review the activities of the organization in delivering services to the region and help with fundraising activities and raising awareness about the organization’s services.
Share one personal story with me from your volunteerism.
Prospera USA’s annual event, Success Stories, selects clients to talk about their story and how Prospera was crucial in making their business a success. I listen to dozens of these stories and the impact the organization has had on the lives of Hispanic entrepreneurs. This makes me think of my parents. They were small business owners and they never received advice as to how to open or operate a business [in the United States.] They learned the importance of accounting, being in good standing with state taxes and the authorities through troubles. It gives me a lot of pride that this organization walks their clients through what it is to do business in the U.S.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your service?
It’s rewarding when I hear these stories. Tears come down my eyes a little bit because [this volunteerism] is not only making a difference for the first generation starting to work and build wealth, but their kids, and their kids’ kids.
Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?
Helping others is a part of my culture and how I grew up. Also, you get satisfaction by being able to help others. Thankfully, I work for a company that gives us opportunities to share our knowledge and expertise in communities.
How have you continued to volunteer throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
Everything went virtual. At Prospera, a lot of the face-to-face work migrated onto the internet. The number of clients served during the pandemic was really high because the need was still there.
What do you want people to learn from your story?
It doesn’t matter what your experience is, we all have something to add. Everyone is busy, but you can still carve out a few hours a week to make sure you are making a difference in the community where you live.
In one word, what does volunteering mean to you?
How can readers help?
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Victor Rivera? Find local volunteer opportunities.