At only 16 years old, Clemmons native Ella-Brooke Morgan has an impressive resume with a jam-packed schedule full of honors and AP courses, extracurricular activities, and volunteering. As a junior at West Forsyth High School, Ella-Brooke sharpens her leadership skills while serving as the Vice President of West Forsyth’s Student Government Association, the Co-President of West Forsyth’s Speech and Debate Team, and the secretary for West Forsyth’s Key Club. She was honored to become a WFHS Student of the Year for the 2020-2021 school year, and aspires to one day land a career that encompasses her love for both journalism and criminal law.
Aside from her academic achievements, Ella-Brooke’s passion for volunteering sets her apart from many of her peers. While acting as the Founder/Executive Director of Virtual and in-Person Tutoring and Peer Guides Program, a Forsyth County nonprofit organization, she has donated over 2,000 hours of her time running the program and tutoring from May 2020 to June 2021, with her team grossing over 7,000 total hours of giving back to students in need. Additionally, Ella-Brooke raised over $800 for ViP Tutoring for the 2021 Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl For Kids’ Sake fundraiser, alongside her team, who raised over $1,100.
Ella-Brooke was inspired to start volunteering from a young age, after being born with congenital muscle and eye disorders. While some things like reading came easily for her once her vision improved, other important aspects of life such as walking, riding a bike, or playing sports did not. She underwent years of occupational and physical therapy to catch up to speed with her peers, which she feels fortunate to have had access to. Because of the privilege she feels in having therapeutic help on a physical level, she believed it was her gift and duty to give back to others academically and intellectually. Ella-Brooke chose to make ViP Tutoring services free of cost to families who may be unable to foot the bill of private tutoring.
Starting a nonprofit organization as a teenager is nothing short of a challenge, but Ella-Brooke was up for the task. Once she was no longer able to tutor in-person after school due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when her school district shifted to remote learning, she had faith in the ability of herself and her peers to carry on their tutoring services virtually. She contacted programs and individuals in the county serving families who were in need of support, especially families struggling with language barriers or issues with technology. In addition to academic tutoring, she was able to assist the families in navigating platforms such as Canvas and Zoom. Initially, age-related rules and regulations discouraged many larger organizations from taking her up on her offer to help, leading her to ask her parents for a loan from her savings account to create a website in order to more efficiently market her services to reach more families in need.
Soon enough, organizations such as Crosby Scholars, HandsOn NWNC, and Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) entrusted Ella-Brooke with their clients. She began tutoring seven students remotely, and later recruited the help of her friends, including her bilingual friend Ashley, who was able to provide help to Spanish-speaking students. In October 2020, Ella-Brooke applied for a Youth Engagement Coalition (YEC) mini grant to cover costs of the organization, which BBBS was generous enough to sponsor. In December, she was elated to discover that she had been approved for the grant, which covered ViP’s Pro Zoom account for training and other team needs. With the help of Camry Wilborn at Wake Forest University, ViP Tutoring also assisted with the virtual MLK Read-In in January, which promoted Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy to young children.
Ella-Brooke is thankful for the support of her friends, team members, and parents, and is especially grateful for Amy Lytle and Casey Capstick of HandsOn NWNC, who taught her the ropes of running a nonprofit organization. While running a nonprofit at 15 wasn’t something she initially thought was possible, she hopes to continue her service at ViP Tutoring throughout her college career as well.
According to Ella-Brooke, “It’s definitely rewarding to see, hear, and feel the positive impact my time volunteering has made on others personally. It provides me with a deeper sense of purpose as a human being, and as a Christian as well.”
In 10 years, she hopes to find herself working as an editor or editor-in-chief for a large publication, or at a law firm in a busy, urban city. When she’s not taking dance classes or studying, Ella-Brooke performs her duties as a member of the School of the New York Times Alumni Board, and is the host and producer of an upcoming podcast featuring School of New York Times alumni and others.
Follow Ella-Brooke on her journey on Instagram at @ebmorgan01 and learn more about ViP Tutoring at @viptutoring.