July 2016 Volunteer Spotlight: Farrukh Mateen Farrukh:

Farrukh is currently a PhD candidate in the Mechanical Engineering department at Boston University where he is researching and developing unique applications for micro/nano scale devices. Since joining the Boston Cares community in June of 2015 he has logged nearly 115 hours of service and would like to invite volunteers to join him at his favorite project – Community Work Services!



Equipping Adults to Beat Poverty One Conversation at a Time

Why do you volunteer?

I volunteer because it gives me hope. Volunteering is my silent reverie from a nightmarish world clamoring with intolerance, bigotry and injustice. At my projects I find doctors, nurses, engineers, students, seniors, unemployed people, people between jobs and even a butcher once. Hence people from all walks of life who come only to help someone who they have never met before, and will probably never meet again and who may never even thank them. Yet volunteers come early in the morning and late in the evenings to projects to help out anyone in any way they can. It tells me that the quintessential and most constant of all human emotions are still love, care and benevolence. And that gives me hope. I volunteer for hope.

Why did you choose to serve/how did you get involved with Community Work Services at Boston Cares?

I joined Boston Cares last summer and CWS was amongst my first three projects that I did before signing up to be a VL. It was an awesome project and I loved the cause. It was also incidentally CWS’s first project with Boston Cares. So they needed a VL and I was becoming one, so it kind of worked out well.

What has been the most meaningful part of your service with the Community Work Services?

CWS provides job training and placement services to their clients who are often from under privileged backgrounds or have experienced grave adversities in their lives or are even physically or mentally challenged somehow; hence they cater to any or all reasons that may have kept a certain individual from gaining economic self-sufficiency and independence. I find it particularly meaningful since adversity in any form or sense bears down on a person often trapping them in a solitary, dark and hopeless place. Even with help and support available it takes extraordinary courage and commitment to seek it out. Volunteering at CWS provides me a chance to meet such strong willed people, and be inspired by them, and hopefully play a role in realizing there goals.

Why do you think others should serve at Boston Cares’ adult education projects?

I think volunteering with Adult education programs is essentially needed since it can directly provide someone in need with the tools necessary to achieve economic independence. It is the quickest way to afford someone the chance to be self-sufficient. Moreover, serving in this area, I believe, also provides the volunteer with a chance for some self-introspection as well. For instance I sometimes find myself whining over small, often insignificant things in my life. But sitting across from a person who has faced a real up hill battle most of their lives immediately puts everything in perspective. So in a way this area of service is mutually beneficial.

Do you have a favorite story about your Boston Cares experience you’d like to share?

I came across a client at CWS a few projects ago who suffered from an extreme nervousness. He was assigned to me to just help him get acquainted with sitting across from someone since it was deemed that he wasn’t at the stage where he could openly talk to someone. He sat with his head hung and his eyes lowered across from me. His fingers were interlaced in front of him and you could see that he was sweating profusely in his palms. While it has never been this extreme but I have suffered from nervousness and social anxiety for a better part of my life and somewhat still do, so I could relate in a small part to him. There was no real requirement for him to talk but I still really felt like helping so I started telling him generally about myself and then gradually in between I would ask him something small which only required a yes or no answer, like whether he liked baseball or about the weather in Boston which seems to be getting better, nothing to exacerbate him or make him feel hounded. And to my surprise, after about ten minutes or so he started opening up and while he still seemed nervous he was able to reply with small sentences. By and by we actually started to have a good conversation and I found out he was an awesome guy. Not only this he then was able to talk to two other volunteers in the same session. I saw him again in my last project at CWS and while he was still very nervous but he was able to talk to a few other volunteers. I hope he keeps making improvements since I believe that he can over come his condition. Nevertheless this is for me a very special story.

Want to get involved?


Boston Cares equips adults to beat poverty and get ahead in life by tutoring 500+ non-traditional learners through GED, workforce development, and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) programs.

Projects in need of volunteers include:

  • Tutor Adults with X-Cel (Sportsmen’s & Missionworks Locations)
    Unearth the old Trapper Keeper– it’s time to go back to high school! Join X-Cel for an evening of tutoring adults from all different cultures and levels of math and writing proficiency. We’ll help them with basic math and critical writing skills as they prepare for their High School Equivalency.
  • Network and Build Interview Skills with Community Work Services
    The new Pathways Program at Community Work Service focuses on career readiness for young adults (16-22) with disabilities. Program participants will hone their skills over several weeks, then put them into practice at Mock Interviews led by Boston Cares volunteers. Mock interviews will help these young adults gain the confidence they need to apply for employment and start their careers. Interview questions will be provided and no special training is required.
  • Computer Testing & Packing at World Computer Exchange
    Help bridge the digital divide by testing and packing computers that have been donated for shipments of working sets to schools and community organizations in developing countries. Technical skills are always helpful but are not required.


The Boston Cares Volunteer Spotlight features volunteers in action and the projects where they serve. Suggest a Spotlight story idea by filling out this nomination form.