Fellow of the Week: Madeline Pennebaker!

Madeline is a Second Year Fellow serving at East End House as the Middle & High School Program Fellow!

madeline 1

When you were younger, was there a youth worker that had a positive impact on your life?

 Definitely. When I was in elementary and middle school I would take weekly art classes after school at an art studio near my house on Thursdays. My art teacher created a peaceful place to learn and create. My teacher knew when to step in and guide me and when to give me the space to make my own creations and experiment. I was so happy there and to this day Thursday still is my favorite day of the week because I associate it with art and with my art teacher. She did so much more than just teach the technical skills of art, she helped to develop who I am. 

What is a typical day like at your host site?

Serving at a community center that works with preschool children through the elderly, a typical day is predictably exciting. During the day I might be in the office planning for programming or out in the community building relationships with other youth workers.  As the Middle & High School Fellow I will always be with youth from 3 pm on running programs, laughing and generally enjoying all the different personalities my youth bring to the table. Still, a typical day also includes stopping by the senior citizens social group to admire their craft or waiting behind a line of preschoolers as they conquer the stairs. A typical day? Well, its not very typical at all. 

What life-long lessons have you learned during your time in the fellowship?

I’ve learned a lot about myself and my own working style. I’ve grown in my ability to be flexible in changing circumstances and I’ve learned the importance of cherishing moments of joy with youth and using those moments to hold hope in the challenging days that come with youth work. Most of all, I’ve learned that with the support of a caring and courageous community of learners like the MPF community and by practicing self care I can accomplish amazing things. 

What will you miss most about MPF when your fellowship year is over?

 I will miss the structured support of the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship community. Most of all, I’ll miss knowing that every month I’ll have the joy and privilege of getting together with and learning with my fellow Fellows as we navigate our service years.  Still, I know for the rest of my life I’ll always have the greater MPF community of alumni, staff and future fellows who right now may not even know their life will change for the better when they become part of this community.

What’s your most memorable/funny holiday story?

When I think about the holidays I can’t grasp a single memory but rather I think about journeying. I think about flying home to Houston, Texas and driving with my immediate family to Tyler, Texas.  I think about packing and planes and packing again and cars and pit stops at Dairy Queen and finally,  that perfect feeling of happiness when I walk into my aunt’s house in Tyler. I’ve lived in Boston for over 5 years but during the holidays my home will always be in Texas with my family. 


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