Shannen’s stepbrother, Jared, plans to be a doctor, and his family supports him all the way, putting money aside for his college education.  

But they’re not alone in looking out for Jared’s future. Shannen’s employer, HireSmart, is helping, too, by providing a scholarship that will cover Jared’s ninth-grade school expenses, allowing Shannen and her mom, Cecile, to save for their loved one’s medical degree. 

“I’m super grateful,” said Shannen, HireSmart’s virtual employee relations manager. “It’s really a huge help, especially to my mom. When I told her, she was super dramatic and super emotional. We celebrated when we heard the news, just a little gathering here at home.” 

Shannen said her younger brother’s intellect was evident early. She tutored him prior to preschool and could see he was special.  

“When I was tutoring him, I saw that he can memorize a lot of things so fast, faster than I can,” she said. “And then I realized he is really special. He’s so good in math and English at the same time, which is super rare. I really thought he was special even before he started going to school.” 

The proud big sister and her family have celebrated Jared’s achievements in school.  

“Last year, he received a reward of being with high honors, which was super great,” she said. “Everyone in the family was there to acknowledge him and the recognition.” 

Shannen said she and her mom are working to save money for Jared’s education, but she said saving became much tougher after her father passed away recently.  

“Because of that, I had to get funds from the savings that I had for his (Jared’s) education,” she said. “That was impacted. I need to restart and try to save up again for his college. My mom and I work on that together, but it is very expensive, especially going to med school. It’s something we need to prepare for.”  

Jared changed schools this year and didn’t qualify for a scholarship, but HireSmart stepped in with assistance.  

“I’m super grateful because this will really help me and my mom prepare for my brother’s future,” she said.  

Shannen and her brother also look for ways to help others. She said Jared is “very generous to everyone, especially those in need.” 

“It’s my tradition where every Christmas I would give back, so I would prepare food for the homeless and then go around and give it to them,” she said. “And then later, I realized my brother loves that, too. He would accompany me. He would usually save up the cash he receives during Christmas. He would give me a portion of that to help as well. And he started helping me since he was in grade two.”  


HireSmart Virtual Employees has a nonprofit arm, HireSmart Cares, which seeks to better lives in both the Philippines and the U.S. with scholarships such as these. HireSmart truly cares for its employees, offering medical and dental insurance, good wages, a work-from-home lifestyle, a strong support staff, leadership training possibilities for career advancement, and scholarship opportunities.  

Airene wants the best for her kids, and HireSmart Virtual Employees shares in that aim.  

The company recently awarded Airene a scholarship for her daughter, Francesca Venice, who turns 5 in November.  

“I really wanted to enroll her in a good school,” said Airene, a single mother of two, who also has a son, Austin Savior, 3. “She’s just starting, and I really believe she needs a strong foundation, and that’s something I can only find in a reputable school here.” 

The scholarship will allow Airene to send her daughter to a private school so she can have a strong start to her educational journey. 

The proud mom says her daughter is “very smart, very energetic.”  

“She likes painting,” said Airene. “When she was 3, she started drawing using a crayon that she found on my desk. I was working that night, and then she told me, ‘Hey mom, I drew your face.’ I was just really surprised because she was 3, and she got the sense of shades, and she actually drew my face like a circle, and there’s eyes, nose, and mouth.” 

Airene works for a property management client in the U.S. as part of their administrative team and has been with HireSmart for a year and a half. She said she loves working from home and being able to take care of her children.  

She wants her children to get the best education possible, and she’s eager to support them however she can.  

“I have my dreams for her, but as a mom, I’m here just to support whatever she wants to do in the future,” said Airene. “Even though I say I want her to be a lawyer, which is what I really wanted when I was a kid, but whatever she ends up doing when she grows up, I’m just here to support her. I want her to achieve whatever it is she wants.” 

The virtual employee said she is grateful to HireSmart and CEO Anne Lackey. She said she’s not familiar with other companies offering such perks for the children of their employees.  

“I just really want to say thank you, Anne,” she said. “I’m really grateful to HireSmart, not just for this opportunity but also for introducing me to my client. That alone really helps me a lot in supporting my kids and being able to take care of them while working here from home. This is a bonus. So really thank you so much. I know this will make a huge change in me and my baby’s life.”  

HireSmart Virtual Employees has a philanthropic branch, HireSmart Cares, which provides scholarships and educational opportunities for youth both in the Philippines and U.S. HireSmart also provides its virtual employees with health and dental benefits.  

Cristina and her sisters love their parents and poured their finances into helping them through medical hardships last year, but this generosity strained the ability of Cristina and her husband to fund their son’s education. 

Thankfully, HireSmart Virtual Employees has stepped in to take that burden off Cristina’s back, providing an educational scholarship so her 7-year-old son, Myke, can attend private school this year. 

“I am forever grateful for this scholarship,” said Cristina, a five-year HireSmart employee. “Education here in the Philippines is pretty expensive, and my son is the most important person in my life, giving him a quality education and providing him with all his needs is what matters to me. I was able to provide it to him because of HireSmart. This scholarship is a really great help for my family. And thank you for helping us Filipino virtual assistants, and we hope this opportunity will continue.”  

Cristina said her son is smart, a “consistent honor student since nursery,” and loves karate. 

“I enrolled him in karate this summer to see if he likes it because he’s an active kid,” she said. “So, in order to divert his energy, I enrolled him, and now he’s very interested. He just got promoted. He’s very interested to get that black belt.”  

Cristina said Myke is especially proficient in math and has participated in Kumon, an educational network based in Japan.  

“They focus on mental math,” she said. “He started when he was 6 years old. Right now, he’s already multiplying fractions. He’s very interested in Kumon, so we continued it.” 

Cristina, who handles vacation rentals for a property management firm in the U.S., said her experience with HireSmart has allowed her to spend more time with her son and watch him grow up. Her husband is also a virtual employee. 

“That’s the reason why I preferred to work remotely, so we can watch our son grow,” she said, adding that she and her husband, John, must be careful what they say and do because Myke is observant and mimics whatever they say or do. “In our household, we have to be very careful with our language and our actions because he is a very curious kid and he copies whatever we do, our habits, our words, our expressions, so we need to be careful as parents, especially nowadays with social media.” 

HireSmart provides its virtual employees like Cristina with health and dental insurance, a work-from-home lifestyle, good pay, opportunities for leadership training, as well as an opportunity for educational scholarships for their children.  

“I can really say that it (HireSmart) is a stable company, and I’m really thankful for the support,” she said. “If you need any help regarding your work, they’re also willing to give tips to help you with the training to give you more feedback. They’re a really supportive company, so I’m really glad I found HireSmart.” 

Cristina also noted that if a client goes out of business or doesn’t work out, HireSmart will work with its virtual employees to get them placed with a new client.  

“If you ever lose a client, they will really find a way for you to get another one,” she said.  

Cristina said she didn’t want to compromise her son’s education because of medical bills, and she’s pleased she won’t have to because of HireSmart. 

“I’m really happy with what I have right now,” she said. “I’m really happy with the company. Compensation is good. Training is good. The management, Anne, Neal, they’re really helpful. They’re hands-on. Just really thankful right now.”  

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