Aminata is a Second Year Fellow currently serving at Brooke Charter School as
the Career Support Specialist Fellow.
1. Who is your biggest inspiration right now?
A lot of my inspiration today is generated out of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Despite differences in opinions regarding the mobilization of the movement I am just blown away by the organization, dedication, resilience and relentlessness persistence of the global campaign. My admiration and inspiration of these united social justice advocates/freedom fighters/concerned global citizens is heightened considering my work in youth development. For me, the intersections of youth work and social justice are continuous and plenty. The two are inextricably linked and some would even go as far as saying that youth work is social justice. My Black Lives Matter inspiration, coupled with my youth work, has challenged me to think critically, question (and combat) the dominant narrative, all while remaining teachable.
2. When did you know that you wanted to work with young people?
You know, I am not quite sure. I think my interest in youth advocacy began in my adolescence. I have always been very observant and my collective observations of young people in my community may have really triggered my initial interest. As a teen, I remember hearing, reading and internalizing a lot of the shame, opposition, fear and pity hurled at my generation. I was naive in thinking that my community, classmates, friends, siblings were exempt from the statistics configured around high school drop out rates, teen pregnancies, street violence, homelessness, sexual exploitation, etc. As one would imagine, my community, classmates, friends, and siblings were not exempt from these circumstances and my daily observations continued. After identifying trends and patterns among my peers I thought I wanted to be a Social Worker. Social Work was really the only profession that I was familiar with that I believed could solve a lot of the issues I was identifying in my own community. I guess it wasn’t until I began volunteering with my high school’s National Honor Society that I began to understand the intentional work that is youth work.
3. Why did you decide to serve a second year with the Fellowship?
I decided to serve a second service year with the Fellowship because of the community that immediately welcomed me when I discovered it. The Massachusetts Promise Fellowship was something I couldn’t imagine letting go after just a year of professional growth, self discovery, networking and community. I knew that to optimize my first MPF experience it would be in my best interest to remain with the program to continue developing my strengths, refined skill-sets and premature but preexisting love for youth work.
4. How has serving with the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship helped to inform your future career aspirations?
It has affirmed that my interest in working with young people. I am still trying to determine in which capacity I will continue with youth advocacy and development but the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship has really helped me in professionalizing the field.
5. What is your favorite MPF memory?
Cliche but it really is hard to pick just one! I guess if I have to choose i’ll go with MPF’s Winter Retreat (2014). The entire retreat, from beginning to end, was as lighthearted and refreshing as I needed it to be. I’m a sucker for a good retreat and MPF has a great formula for fun and learning.