Life Loyal Teke Testimonial - Dr. Rene Cintron
"That's what AVA felt like. It felt like a relaunch of my volunteer experience," shares Dr. Rene Cintron Ph.D. (Iota-Upsilon, West Alabama), Grand Province Advisor for the Cajun Province in Louisiana.
This winter, Frater Cintron shared his experience attending the Dr. William V. Muse Alumni Volunteer Academy in 2018, explaining how he "wanted to attend to learn more about the Fraternity and the workings of the Fraternity." According to Frater Cintron, he came to be a better volunteer in his home chapter as well as in his province by joining his fellow volunteers at the Alumni Volunteer Academy.
Attending AVA is about more than just TKE, AVA provides volunteers with a chance to take home tools and techniques that you won't find anywhere else.
"We sat down at AVA and created some schedules and some plans for the year as volunteers. That and the materials that are shared are things that I took into my professional roles. It's important to have the training guides and the videos and these types of communications that we have through AVA, and I took that out into my real-world jobs. I just grew upon that, and now I run kick-off calls and kick-off meetings."
The AVA has evolved; it uses time tested theories along with advanced technologies and techniques that address current issues through communications and connectivity.
"TKE has matured as an organization and dealing with alumni involvement in general. I think the benefit of time, experience and focus on alumni is the first thing that comes to mind from the old program to the new program. The next things that come to mind are the materials that are shared, the stories, the involvement that's there, the prep work that happens with videos and interactions ahead of time, and when you get there you're able to talk about those experiences. They are able to do things with technology today that we were just not able to do as easily 14 years ago."
Frater Cintron credits this new AVA with providing a level of access, resources and training that would have taken years of asking questions, researching and continually seeking out others to try to find out essential details.
"There are online resources that you can read and study, but then there are the other experiences that I shared through the Academy that are just not found in the guides in materials, reading to yourself, or just asking questions. I think it's a one-stop-shop, and without that initial burst of information, it would just be a lot of time spent looking things up trying to find the right people and the right resources."
The AVA also allows you to capitalize on those unexpected moments of connection with your fellow volunteers. Cintron explained how, after 20 years, he unexpectedly reconnected with a brother from his own chapter during the AVA. The two have stayed in touch regularly ever since.
"Whether they're new, existing or wanting to reconnect, I think it gives you—of course, the content and the material you get about TKE, about being volunteer, about being better— but also the connections that you make with other alumni that are in similar roles. You're able to communicate with them and share day-to-day or week-to-week what's going on and ask for feedback and expertise."
Frater Cintron works for the Louisiana Community & Technical College System as Chief Education and Training Officer for a system of 12 independently accredited community. Each year, he is a part of supporting the colleges, chancellors and the vice-chancellors across the state in moving their mission forward.