Interview with YES Prep Professionals’ Board Chair Carole Mariani
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Carole Mariani and I received my undergraduate degree from Rice University, where I studied statistics and philosophy. In May 2020, I will be graduating with my MBA from the University of Texas. I’m originally from New York but moved down to Houston for college, loved the city and have been here ever since. I work in corporate finance for a power company here in Houston.
How did you learn about YES Prep?
One of my friends from college worked in Advancement at YES Prep – she introduced me to the team and the mission and I was excited to get involved in any way I could. As I learned more about the different campuses and the vast network of students served, I felt like supporting YES Prep would be an important way for me to help ensure that all students in all communities have the opportunity to succeed.
Can you tell us about your experience with YES Prep Professionals (YPP)?
I joined YPP in 2017 and began by learning about our annual events, helping out wherever possible, and getting to know the group - YPP is a great group of young professionals who are dedicated to YES Prep’s mission. After one year with the group, I was interested in a leadership role and stepped into the Chair position. Now I’m focused on setting fundraising and volunteering goals for the group and facilitating the organization of our yearly events.
How does YPP support YES Prep?
YPP holds several fundraising events per year, including a spin class fundraiser and our annual Back to College Bash, which features live music, food, drinks, a raffle and a silent auction of YES Prep student art. We support students and their families with holiday gifts during the annual Giving Tree initiative. The YPP board also facilitates a larger group of young professionals, called YPP Advocates, which we keep updated about our own events as well as volunteer opportunities on YES Prep campuses, including career fairs and other opportunities to connect with and mentor students.
Can you share YPP’s holiday efforts?
This holiday season, YPP supported over 65 students and families through the Giving Tree program, which is expertly organized by Stephanie Jones at YES Prep. YPP and friends received wish lists from students across many campuses who were looking forward to receiving lots of exciting gifts – from calculators for college to art supplies to podcasting equipment, it was clear that YES Prep students have awesome and diverse interests.
Over three weeks, more than 30 volunteers donated their funds, their time and their gift-wrapping skills to help these students have an extra happy holiday season. We celebrated the success of our Giving Tree efforts this year with a happy hour, which was a great opportunity for volunteers to connect with one another – many volunteers also brought friends, who learned more about YES Prep and its mission and donated gift cards and additional gifts for students.
Who should join YPP?
Any young professional in Houston who believes that all students deserve access to high-quality education should join! We have options for different levels of time commitment to suit a range of preferences. Anyone interested can fill out this form and we will contact them to discuss how best to get involved.
Final thoughts or info you’d like to share?
I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve YES Prep students – a special thank you to the Advancement team, who helps with all of our initiatives and supports our group. I look forward to seeing YES Prep grow as elementary schools begin to open in 2020!