Back to School

      As a student enrollment coordinator, there are very few things I can’t do from the comfort of my computer. My boss and I always joke that if they put a coffee pot and a bathroom in our back corner of the office, we would never leave. We joke, but I hope it never actually happens because I would truly fear for my ability to maintain any type of social skills.

      With that in mind, after a while I started to become curious about what our site coordinators did on a daily basis at their schools. Following the suggestion of our Executive Director, I began reaching out to different coordinators to ask if I could stop by and talk to them about data, programming, and everything in between. Honestly, I just wanted to hear about their days.

      Whether I had visited an elementary, middle, or high school, I received a welcoming and unique experience at each site. I was lead on personal school tours, I participated in a 6th grade career preparation session (voluntarily, I could always use a little more direction), I helped hand out cupcakes for Honor Roll students, and even got to watch first hand one coordinator recruit a student to join CIS. I had one site coordinator sit down with me for hours and patiently go through every detail of her strategic plan for the school year just because she wanted to make sure that I left knowing it all. Oh, and on one of my visits I asked our site staff what all the name tags on her wall were for and she nonchalantly responded that they were for the hundreds of volunteers that she organized on a daily basis. HUNDREDS?!? Casual…

      I would always leave these visits so exhilarated. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job as enrollment coordinator, but a change of pace is always refreshing. Plus, I’m only here for a year; I want to learn everything about CIS while I still can, so these visits gave me a more comprehensive view about who our organization is.

      But with all that being said, I would be remiss to say that these visits only left me more educated. We as fellows were placed in these positions in order to contribute to our organization’s efforts in a powerful and meaningful way, and the CIS site staff should be a model for us all. Our coordinators, one of whom has been at CIS longer than I have been alive (!), are out there every day juggling the multiple roles they are asked to play within their school, and on top of that, finding the time to provide the support and resources our students need not only to succeed in school but also in life. And I think they’re incredible.

My Life is My Job… My Job is My Life?

Birthday celebrations at the office

We are constantly bombarded with: Follow your dreams Do what makes you happy Work life vs. home life If you don’t like it, leave it Obviously these carry undertones of privilege and access that not everyone has the fortune of taking advantage. As the U.S. News reported more clearly in their article called “Why You [...]

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On Being American When in Mexico—On Being Biracial When in the United States

Hanal Pixan (Day of the Dead Procession)

  This is the conversation I had in Mexico with someone who is racially white and nationally from the U.S.  Backdrop: Merida is an up-and-coming city nationally and internationally. It has started to heavily delve into the tourism sector, which has sparked a lot of economic development in the area. Because of its weather, low [...]

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A three-fold cord is not quickly broken…

Sekou Toure Team

Lately, its been a little quiet in New York…with Tuesday being a big exception as ‘Polar Vortex 2’ hit the city again. It’s really, really cold. A fun, warm ‘inside’ activity for me is to browse through old pictures. Some memories must always be lived again and again J .  While wrapped in more blankets [...]

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It Truly is the Season of Giving:

love book and smile

  This year I am in charge of a Park Road Book tree for our students here at Communities In Schools. Each year this small, locally run, book store in Charlotte puts up a tree the day after Thanksgiving  for their patrons to sponsor our students. Students create ornaments, request books, and turn them in [...]

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People, People, People

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this group?!

The holidays, especially Kwanzaa and New Year’s have reminded me to reflect. Recently, the topic of people and relationships has been on my mind a lot, professionally and personally. I enjoy a robust and diverse friend group and work in a field that focuses on people—and the connections between them. Over the holidays, I caught [...]

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Coming OUT as an Ally

When asked during my interview what motivates me to do this work in LGBT advocacy specifically, I responded that I was interested in the power of theatre to cohere and uplift marginalized communities. I gave examples of the oppression that LGBT communities face. I told my boss-to-be that I hoped a year spent working for [...]

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Learning to Listen as a Leader

Kouzes and Posner in The Jossey Bass Reader on Nonprofit and Public Leadership describe the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. This fellowship has given me the opportunity to be around many leaders. Here at the Carolina Thread Trail and the Catawba Lands Conservancy, I work closely with Tom Okel, the Executive Director. I see him [...]

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Impact Partners – Davidson College &YES Prep Public Schools

aisha

Working as an Impact Fellow for YES Prep Public Schools certainly ensures that my days are never predictable. Collaboration with the Communications, Advancement, and District Partnership Teams provides me with varied insight into the professional world I never would have gained in another postgrad position. Apart from planning the YES Prep College Rush Run, I’ve [...]

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Swimming in Trash

Day 2 Trash Crew celebrates their effort

Crunch, crunch, crunch. I walked from the trails’ edge to the shoreline—about 10 feet. The crunching wasn’t leaves fallen from the trees, it was trash. Every step was the crunch of trash. Seven Oaks Trail was an incredible graveyard of trash. On the edge of the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, we’ve been working to complete [...]

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