In high school, I joined a group called Peaceful Coalition. A gang-prevention and intervention group. This group targeted boys involved with gangs. During my sophomore year, the girls group of Peaceful Coalition opened up led by Melissa Tavares. This group was my life. My sisterhood, my family, my inspiration. My steppingstone. It completely changed my life. I certainly would not be on the path I am today without Peaceful Coalition.
This group taught me how to use my voice to advocate for positive change within myself and my community. (I used to be a really shy kid) I was given numerous leadership and public speaking opportunities. I was empowered. I had found my passion — helping people find their voice to better themselves and those around them.
During my junior year in college, I joined the Model United Nations (MUN) team. I have always been infatuated with international affairs and different cultures, I knew this was a good fit for me.
- I have learned parliamentary procedure
- I have had the opportunities to be Head Chair and Co-Chair of a committee as well as a delegate
- I have become more globally aware
- I have an understanding of the processes of international diplomacy
- I understand how to keep decorum of my delegation
- I understand the challenges of preparing my delegation for a memorable and positive learning experience
Overall, my MUN experience has been transformative. As intimidating as it can be getting up in front of a committee to speak or trying to persuade people to co-signing my resolution, it has been the experience of a lifetime.
Before working at the YMCA, I worked for a non-profit organization called Greater Fall River Recreation. One of their after school programs was specifically for elementary school students called Health Eating Active Time (HEAT) Club. This program focused on educating students ages 9-10 years old how to eat healthy and be active. My colleagues and I would alternate between two different elementary schools for the after school program.
As student-teachers, it was our responsibility to create lesson plans where the mastery objective was for students to learn why it is important to eat healthy, understand the pros and cons of not being healthy and active, learn how to create fun healthy snacks, and play active games outside. On a team of four other student-teachers we would rotate between leading the activities. At the end of the program, we would give each other feedback to improve our leadership skills.
One of the challenges of this program was trying to engage students who have no interest in the subject of health to participate. One way to overcome this barrier is to involve the students what they were interested in doing. Whether it was involving their interests while incorporating our curriculum. For example, one student wanted to combine her interest of art into the program. And so, we took all interests into consideration based on knowing our students and incorporated their interests and our curriculum as one.
YMCA SouthCoast — Fall River, MA 2011-2013
For two years, I worked at the YMCA as the dance instructor, talent show coordinator, and Arts&Drama group leader. I provided leadership and guidance to 10-15 students daily, ages ranging from 8-13 years old. I was responsible for planning and organizing lessons for the Arts&Drama group as well as coordinating the talent show for the entire Y-Camp. I was also responsible for settling and mediating conflicts within the group.
Not only was I a camp counselor, I was a teacher, I was a mentor, and I was a friend to these campers. It was most challenging to have a group of girls with a significant age difference to have them understand each other, support one another, get them to be hyped up and excited for each day, and of course, settling quarrels. But at the end of the day, I was always successful in keeping the group together and keeping their spirits high. I talked to them, I laughed with them, I played with them, I listened to them, I challenged them, and I supported them.
As a former YMCA camper, the YMCA has played a tremendous role in my life and has helped me grow as a leader and team player. The YMCA has also helped shape me into a compassionate person.