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From coach to program coordinator to board member: Celebrating Callie’s long-haul dedication to College Possible

Callie Forrest At College Possible Event Registration Table.

It’s been over ten years since Callie Forrest, scholarship program manager at the Renaissance Foundation, joined College Possible as an AmeriCorps coach. Since that time, she’s filled several integral roles within the College Possible community, partnering with students and community organizations to advance educational equity. We chatted with Callie as she prepares to close her chapter as College Possible Oregon’s ambassador board chair.

Walk us through the positions you’ve held at College Possible (there are quite a few!) …

A woman wearing a green shirt.
Callie served as an AmeriCorps coach at Reynolds High School.

In my senior year at Oregon State University in 2013, I met a College Possible representative at a career fair. I had never heard of AmeriCorps but was very interested in the opportunity to support students applying for college. I served two terms, first as a junior coach, then as a senior coach to the same cohort of students. I loved working with students and being part of the College Possible team, so I decided to apply for a staff role as my term ended. As a program coordinator, I helped to bring a virtual advising initiative called CollegePoint (now facilitated through other organizations) to Portland in 2016 when that type of work was still very new.

After a few years away from College Possible, I was seeking out a volunteer opportunity and heard about the ambassador board. I thought it was the perfect way to support College Possible in a new capacity. After a couple of years as an ambassador board member, I was elected as the board’s first chair. It has been a joy to hold so many different roles at the organization and support the great work of helping get students to and through college.

What are some projects or events you helped bring to life to during your time on the ambassador board?

The ambassador board had been running for two years before I joined in early 2020. Like other organizations at that time, we worked on turning past events, like a fundraising trivia night, into a virtual event of the same type. Rallying people in my network to join these events was fun and gave us all something social to do while raising money for the organization. Throughout my time, I have been able to participate in several fundraisers and awareness-building events at local businesses.

One of my favorite College Possible events that I’ve been able to participate in was a speed networking event hosted for current college students. Ambassador board members, advisory board members, and other professionals in the Portland community were invited to help students practice their networking skills in a supportive environment before launching into the world of work.

Why is volunteering through the ambassador board meaningful to you?

Meeting other members who have found their way to College Possible because they are drawn to supporting the work has been especially meaningful. Our members work in many different industries, and all have different reasons they got involved with College Possible. It is heartening to meet people who are willing to volunteer their time to support talented College Possible students.

What are your values and vision around community volunteering or leadership opportunities? How do they inform the way you show up or engage in your community?

My personal guiding principle on volunteering is that “to whom much is given, much is required.” I have been lucky in my life to have the time and energy to contribute to volunteer opportunities. I feel especially lucky to have received such great experience in my years working at College Possible on how to support young people navigating complex processes like college admissions and financial aid. In some of my volunteer roles, I have tried to leverage this knowledge to be as helpful as possible. In other roles, where time and energy are the primary resources needed, I have leveraged that to be as helpful as possible.

Why might you invite someone to consider joining a group like the ambassador board?

If you are interested in what it means to be on a board, a group like the ambassador board is a great place to start. It is also a great place to learn how to advocate for and fundraise on behalf of an organization you care about.

In talking to friends and peers, I have learned that many people want to volunteer for organizations whose missions they support, but they don’t know where to start. I also think people tend to underestimate what they bring to the table and mistakenly think they don’t have anything to contribute. I would encourage anyone in this position to consider that your time and energy are so valuable, and you have more skills than you think! Being organized, having connections in the community, and being a good team member are all great skills that can be helpful to organizations.

We are actively recruiting new Ambassador Board members to advance College Possible’s mission. Contact Bethany Rocci at to learn more.

College Possible is dedicated to creating and maintaining an inclusive culture that embraces diversity. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds to apply, including people of color, people with disabilities, immigrants, people with lived experience and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

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