This week, I took the opportunity to chat with my colleague and friend, Nijah Lewis, one of the four Promise Corps College and Career Coaches serving at West Philadelphia High School this year. Nijah and I talked about the experience of serving the wonderful students at West, what inspires her outside of her work, and her advice for future Promise Corps Coaches! A special thanks to Nijah for taking the time to participate in our Promise Corps Blog! Go West!
Q: What is your favorite part about being a Promise Corps College and Career Coach?
Nijah: My favorite part about being a Promise Corps College and Career Coach is working with the students. These are trying and unprecedented times that we are in and I am grateful to be able to help guide them on their journey. They are a daily source of inspiration for me.
Q: Do you have a moment this year that has been very memorable?
Nijah: Our indigenous people day professional development was a memorable moment for me. It was the first time I had experienced the authentic history of this country in a professional setting. I also learned a lot about the culture of indigenous people.
Q: What advice would you give to someone interested in serving with the Promise Corps next year?
Nijah: Do your research. Learn the population that you will be serving and how your role within the program works. Take advantage of the networking opportunities that you are given. Be open and flexible.
Q: What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
Nijah: Outside of work I enjoy reading novels and writing poetry. I often walk trails and I enjoy listening to music. My grandmother has recently gotten me into crocheting.
Q: Do you have advice for students who are combating Zoom Fatigue right now?
Nijah: Fill your atmosphere and space with things that are aesthetically pleasing. Consider burning candles and putting up led lights. Play lofi hip hop or sounds of the ocean in the background while you’re in class. Take as many breaks away from the screen as you need. Drink water!
Q: What is a source of inspiration for you?
Nijah: One of the greatest sources of inspiration in my life is young people. My mentees inspire me on a daily basis. I am also inspired by the girl on tik tok that makes videos informing her peers of the current state of politics. The student that takes care of his younger brother and sister while his mom is working also inspires me. No matter what’s going on in the world, at the end of the day I go to bed with the understanding that “The kids are alright” and that pushes me to do all that I can do to better myself so that I can be a resource and support for the youth.
Harry Levant, College and Career Coach at West Philly High