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Welcome Kia!

Each summer Promise Corps is lucky to have an intern join the team to help with summer planning! The intern is tasked with projects that will help with give us strong start to the next school year. This summer we are pleased to welcome Kia! Read a little about Kia below:

My name is Kia Kapri Nwadiora, you can call me Kia. I from Delaware County, PA and live in Philadelphia. I am currently in school at Temple University working on a degree in Social Work. While in college I support the Queer Student Union, Black Student Union, and the National Social Work Honors Society. My favorite subjects in high school were Math and Sociology. I am passionate about helping youth, for they are the future. After I graduate with my Masters of Social Work I plan to get a job within Philly’s government.  Something interesting about me is that I like to make clothes. My hobbies include; eating, dancing, reading, and thrift shopping!

A quote I live by is: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” -Gandhi

My favorite book I’ve ever read is: Becoming by Michelle Obama

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Kia decided to join Promise Corps because she hopes to focus her career with her MSW targeted to education and community development! The Promise Corps Leadership team is excited to welcome and begin the amazing summer work.

 

-Marylissa Barbosa, Site Supervisor

 

Saying “Goodbye”

As AmeriCorps members, we know that our term is always short. In either six months or ten months, we all have a limited time to make an impact on others. Now that the year is coming to a close, we’re learning that it can be hard to let others know we won’t be here for much longer.  

Yes saying goodbye is hard, but the time leading up to it is even harder. We go back and forth on what is working and what is not, and the temptation to get out as quickly as possible weighs on us. Those who plan out their goodbyes are able to better manage their stress on accepting reality, and staying accountable to their students and their work. They have had empathetic, honest conversations, learned from feedback, and instead of lashing out, they’ve held their head high and continued to move forward.

For us as College and Career Ambassadors, we are not only saying goodbye to each other, but we are also saying goodbye to our students. As the year has come to an end, we have taken the time to hold “End of the Year Celebrations” at each site. At these celebrations, we provided fun activities, cookouts, and even gifts for our students. But, we also can’t forget the students who we rarely see or those who didn’t make it to the celebration. We are still trying to hold one last session with them so we can touch base, say goodbye and prepare for the summer.

As for the students we won’t get the chance to say our goodbyes to, we can still say thank you to them. For some, it helped us to be persistent in getting things done and letting them know we are available. And it also helped us to know that even youth go through things that can prevent them from doing things that are required of them.

So from all of the Promise Corps CCAs this year, we’d like to say, loudly and proudly: THANK YOU and “Bye Felicia!” -Ice Cube.

 

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Team Fun Day!

On Tuesday, May 14th the Promise Corps Leadership team (Bethany, Marylissa and Alex) organized a fun day at Arnold’s Family Fun Center, to celebrate the end of the school year and the completion of our service years. Two of our members were actually completing their term of service the next day, so it was a nice way to end out the year as a complete team. After meeting at our office and kicking off the day with a rousing game of Musical Chairs and a Lip Sync battle, we were ready to get on the bus to head to Arnold’s.

Once setting us all up in our own private room – stocked with a theater sized projector, speakers and unlimited soft drinks – Bethany, Marylissa and Alex distributed Promise Corps Yearbooks for us to peruse. There were tons of great pictures from events, school service and Professional Development days that occurred this year, as well as spaces for everyone to comment and write nice things. We had a short reflection on the year and were given the opportunity to write notes to each other. Before lunch, there was also a small awards ceremony! Several members were presented awards for their commitment to service, for reaching their goal of 80% of caseload students finishing the Promise Corps program, and for embodying the Promise Corps values.

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After a delicious lunch we were off to enjoy Arnold’s! We competed in a game of laser tag and raced go karts as our first activities. We then were given points to spend in order to play arcade games together. Highlights included air hockey, skee ball, racing games and a very frustrating claw game offering Beats Headphones that is almost guaranteed to fail.

 

Since our year of service is coming to a close, it was the perfect last day to spend together! Thanks to the entire team for a great year!

Life After Promise Corps

When we were younger, we knew our future jobs would be related to changing and fixing the world. Whether it was becoming a doctor, teacher, airline pilot, or even a chef, we knew change was a must! As College and Career Ambassadors, our mission is to find a path for our students for their future, but who is helping us figure out our future?

When we first started college, a lot of us went in with a plan about our future and where we’d end up, but once we got closer to graduation day, those plans changed. As AmeriCorps members, we know that we only have one full year of employment, and then it will be time to make a new decision. So while some of our students want to be nurses, plastic surgeons, and civil engineers, we thought it would be a good time to tell you the story of what we all want to be.

We sat and interviewed the CCAs at Sayre High School, as well as Alex, their Site Supervisor, to find out what their plans are after Promise Corps.

Dee Dee:

  • What you will be doing after Promise Corps: I will be pursuing my Master’s Degree at Harvard University in Public Health.
  • What do you want to be in the future: A scientist because I want to look at the relationship between the biology of illnesses and the lived experiences of those who are not getting the care they need.

Anna:

  • What you want to do after Promise Corps: This summer, I will be facilitating career exploration workshops for middle schools students with the South Philly Prevention Coalition at Furness High School.
  • What do you want to be in the future: I’m not sure yet, I just know that I am living in the right now.

Sam:

  • What you will be doing after Promise Corps: In the summer, I will be working with Upward Bound. After that I will be producing music and studying for the MCAT.
  • What do you want to be in the future: I want to do something that is helping other people.

Shakeira:

  • What you will be doing after Promise Corps: In the summer I will be working as a Program Facilitator for Education Works at Harding Middle School, as well as working for the Youth Aid Panel. I will also be achieving my Master’s Degree at Widener University in Criminal Justice.
  • What do you want to be in the future: I want to do something dealing with juveniles. Maybe youth advocacy or something in Juvenile Law.

Alex:

  • What you will be doing after Promise Corps: Similar work to what I do now (Site Supervisor). Either managing education programing or doing something with community development work.
  • What do you want to be in the future: Running service learning, community center, or educational programs.

 

Many of us, after experiencing setbacks and failures, emotionally give up and stop trying. As humans, we believe that because we were unsuccessful in the past, we will always be unsuccessful. But as AmeriCorps members, we take the time to step back and realize what we can do to push ourselves to be successful in the end. From the wise words of our Sayre students, “We don’t fold, we stand 10 toes.”

 

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ACES Panel

For the second year in row, Promise Corps hosted the Alternative Careers in Education and Service Career Panel – otherwise known as ACES – in early April. Panelists are recruited from various career fields to match the interests of current Promise Corps members, and all AmeriCorps members serving across all of Philadelphia are invited to attend the panel session, participate in Q&A and enjoy refreshments and networking immediately following the event.

This year’s panelists represented a variety of roles in social work, healthcare and government positions. Also represented were current and past graduate students that will soon be completing their Masters in Social Work and moving into their own next steps in their career fields.

Panelists responded to questions on interviewing, job searching and shared tips on what to work on now that members are starting to think about their future careers. Panelists were nearly unanimous in their advice to gain as much experience as possible and to not limit yourself in any way.

David Wengert, panelist and current social worker in the Housing Unit at Community Legal Services shared; “Build your expertise in the social work field. You can go in as a generalist and pivot towards your passion.” This was followed by similar sentiments from the Executive Director of WES Health System, LaJewel Harrison when she shared; ““It’s ok to not know, don’t stop. Keep trying to find that good fit for what feels good. Keep moving forward.”

On the topic of interviewing, David shared great advice to make sure you prepare using a format that includes the C.A.R. method; set the context, explain the action you took and be explicit about the result you received. It was discussed that too often excellent candidates are not able to point to specifics when interviewing for positions in this field, a place where problem solving and critical thinking are paramount. Using this method can help highlight the essential skills needed within any role you’re interested in.

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After emphasizing gaining broad experience and not establishing limits as you start your career, the second theme panelists agreed on was their own personal reflection on their current role – again almost unanimously stating they had no idea they’d be in their current role but because of learning new skills and growing into new experiences, they’ve found their true passion and continue to grow as professionals.

Andrea October, Trauma and Resilience Coordinator from the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disability Services wisely shared; “There is no crystal ball for your future. I thought I wanted to be in a different place but actually want to be right where I am right now, doing this. Try not to limit yourself to what you don’t want to do. Don’t focus on that.”

Promise Corps would like to thank all of the panelists for participating, sharing their perspectives and personal journeys and also thank all of the AmeriCorps and service programs that joined us, stay tuned for next year!

 

Thank you to our panelists:

Andrea October; Trauma Resilience Training Coordinator, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS)

Bernard Brown; State Program Director for the Corporation for National and Community Service, Philadelphia, PA

Christina Donaldson; adoption coordinator

David Wengert; Social Worker in the Housing Unit at Community Legal Services

Lisa White; Counselor, University of Pennsylvania Upward Bound Math & Science Program

LaJewel Harrison; Executive Director, WES Health System

Lindsey Anderson; MSW Intern, Therapist, CHANCES

Willa Beckman; Therapist, Joseph J. Peter’s Institute

Throwback Spotlight – AmeriCorps Conference!

On March 14th, all of the Promise Corps CCA”s traveled down to the University of Pennsylvania to attend the 2019 AmeriCorps Conference. This was a memorable experience because the conference is not held every year, and even if it is, is not always held in Philadelphia. We were joined by over 800 other AmeriCorps members from across the city and the state, with some members travelling from as far as Erie. The conference kicked off with an opening ceremony in which several members, including Promise Corps’ very own Rodney Babb, had the opportunity to talk about what their service meant to them. There were several distinguished speakers, and Mayor Kenney even made an appearance. Two other Promise Corps members, Emani Smith and Jessie Klein, volunteered to help direct members to the next events, and support the speakers.

Members had the opportunity to attend a total of three different workshops, which covered a wide range of topics pertaining to service. The topics included: understanding how to approach issues regarding race and gender, effective communication skills, self-care, and how to navigate life after AmeriCorps. Two other CCA’s, Shakiera Harden and Drew Schaub, even led one of the workshops, which discussed how to foster positive team dynamics. These workshops provided a valuable opportunity for members to reflect on their service and think about ways that they could make the most of their year of service. It was also a special experience because it gave members a chance to interact with people from different programs. Everyone was able learn about various AmeriCorps programs, share ideas, and just get to know one another. It was invigorating to feel appreciation for our service, and to share that with each other. It was a great chance to reflect, take pride in our service, and reaffirm that the work we do truly matters.