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Community Engagement Programs

VELLO Virtual Tutoring (National Program) Internship

Valley of the Sun United Way


Improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of our community.  Building a caring community where all children and youth succeed, families are self-sufficient, neighborhoods are vital and safe, more



About the Internship


Serve as a 1:1 virtual tutor that will read with kids from anywhere, AND work directly with the Vello National Director to scale impact and volunteerism through Vello and United Way's national network. You'll grow mentoring skills, work directly with students, and engage with a startup NPO that serves Title I schools nationally.
Each week, ASU students will have the opportunity to contribute to both the program implementation and scaling efforts for Vello Online Tutoring in Maricopa County, and nationally:
-Virtually tutor academically at-risk children in Title I Schools
-Develop communication and marketing plans that scale Vello's volunteer tutor participation and school partnerships.
-Track progress and support data analysis for Vello's program evaluation.
-Advocate and build advocacy efforts for Vello in various educational forums, corporate environments, and other community organizations.
-Work with classroom teacher in Vello-sponsored classrooms to teach children about digital learning environments and volunteerism.

Population Served:

VELLO Online Tutoring is a program built by Valley of the Sun United Way as a national strategy to impact literacy, engage United Way volunteers, and add an innovative spark to current education initiatives. In keeping with this strategy, Vello serves 1st - 4th grade students that attend school in areas of high poverty, most schools being nearly 100% free breakfast and lunch. Moreover, Vello's target population of students hail from multiple ethnic and cultural backgrounds, including second language speakers, refugees from around the world, and high-transient populations.

Interns with United Way's Vello program will grow their efficacy with service to these target communities through direct tutoring efforts, supporting classrooms with supplemental activities, and working with the Vello staff on business aspects of the program (marketing, scaling partnerships, engaging sponsors and volunteers).

Community Need:

In 2014, 1,400 Arizona third graders were held back from moving to fourth grade because they did not score proficient on their AZ Merit test. Today, less than 50% of all Arizona students scored proficient on their AZ Merit tests. These metrics are pervasive nationwide and affect a myriad of other community issues outside of school; drop out rates, prison pipeline, employment status, future productivity, etc.

VELLO is positioned against these statistics and offers an innovative solution. Studies show that purposeful 1:1 tutoring/mentoring can change the trajectory of a child's like and increase the likelihood that they become a more productive member of society in adulthood. Moreover, extra reading dosage is crucial in expanding vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension abilities for struggling students. Vello provides mentorship and consistent 1:1 reading support for students that need it the most, adding at least 60 minutes of extra reading dosage (aka purposeful practice) to each child's school week.

Since Vello is the product of United Way, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, staff capacity and resources that do not always match the need of the community. Through this internship, students will increase the capacity of Vello's staff team and add new resources that will empower scale, equaling greater impact and volunteer engagement.

Community Impact:

This internship will provide an opportunity to participate in VELLO, an innovative virtual volunteer program, developed right here in Maricopa County, to impact literacy. ASU students will gain valuable insight into how Valley of the Sun United Way, together with our donors, volunteers, and partners, are working to break the cycle of poverty in Maricopa County by fighting for children, families, and neighborhoods. We bring partners together from every sector – public, private, and non-profit. No other organization brings together as many people in as many ways to fight poverty.

See this document for our Theory of Change and how we benchmark progress and impact in our local communities: