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.
When you were in school, did you feel like your voice mattered? At what age did it feel like
adults took you seriously? Were you allowed to move freely or make decisions for yourself? Did
you have input in the decisions that affected you most? READ MORE
Since finishing my two-year FAO Schwarz Fellowship in August 2017, I have stayed on at Riverkeeper continuing in my role as Outreach Coordinator. While in this position over the last four years, I’ve organized our annual day of service each year called the Riverkeeper Sweep.
During the last few months of senior year, I made sure to internalize and grow comfortable with the fact that my first job out of college would neither be perfect nor easy. Regardless of what might come next, I knew this next chapter would require a transition out of the lifestyle I’d enjoyed for the past 16 years as a student, and I wanted to give myself grace with that thought in mind. READ MORE