As I wrapped my time at Reading Partners, the way we interacted with students shifted enormously. My time with students came to an end earlier than expected. The way I interacted with community partners became part of my virtual reality.
Check out FAO Schwarz Fellowship recent graduate Nick Mitch’s interview on ProFellow! Nick wrapped up his Fellowship in 2020 at Riverkeeper New York and will be entering as a Master in Urban Planning student at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in the fall.
ProFellow is the go-to source for information on professional and academic fellowships, created by fellows for aspiring fellows.
The past nine months of working for Year Up New York | New Jersey have been busy, busy, busy. Between my work with the alumni community, our students, and analyzing data to provide suggestions to continue improving our program and support, I have been trusted to take on more and more high-level tasks within the organization.
On a rainy Tuesday morning, my coworker and I lugged our Jumpstart bags stuffed with books and craft supplies to a Brooklyn preschool. Though I had already coordinated many such events since I started my role six months ago, I still felt anticipation as I imagined how the children and teachers might respond to the books and activity. Like always, however, the skilled teachers made the event a breeze, catching tantrums before they escalated and prompting the students with thoughtful questions about the book.
My time at Playworks New England has been a transformative experience! At the beginning of my fellowship term, I had a difficult time transitioning from my place of origin in New York City to moving to Boston, a city new to me. I did not have relatives and had very few friends who were in the Boston area. With the support of Playworks, my co-workers quickly became my friends and some even that I could confide in. My position at Playworks has challenged me beyond my comfort zone as it has encouraged me to practice leadership skills and hone strengths that I didn’t know existed in myself.
When I tell people about the advising half of my work, I usually give a one-liner along the lines of, “I advise students about financial aid and college affordability, but it’s virtual so I’m mostly texting them.” This tends to receive many raised eyebrows, which only raise higher when I go on to explain that I have hundreds of students in my caseload.
I’ve lived in Queens, New York for 14 years. I volunteered with Reading Partners in my freshman year of college. Fast forward three years later, and I have had the wonderful opportunity to engage with the organization in South Jamaica, Queens. My work as a FAO Schwarz Fellow in the community engagement team includes recruiting volunteers and seeking partnerships in the community of South Jamaica. We currently partner with three public elementary schools where I tutor and actively connect with local civic and faith-based organizations to bring tutors to the reading centers.