Fellow of The Week: Katie Purcell!

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Katie is The College & Career Access Youth Coordinator Senior Fellow in her second year of MPF. She is currently serving at The Stoughton Youth Commission as The Leadership & Civic Engagement Fellow. 

1. What motivated you to switch host sites after your first year of serving with MPF? What did you learn from this switch?

As I was approaching the spring of my first year of service, I knew that I wanted to stay with MPF for a second year. I was motivated to switch host sites mainly because I was seeking a position where I would have more direct contact with high school students. I’m not sure I can fully summarize all that I learned from this switch. The switch really encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, get to know a new community, and develop strong relationships with a group of youth leaders. This has allowed me to leave the Fellowship with two great years of experience with two distinct skill sets.

2. What has been your favorite MPF memory over the past two years?

I’m going to cheat and do a two part answer to this question. With my youth, one of my best moments was when one of my seniors submitted her enrollment deposit for college. I have been working with her since September on the college application and selection process with lots of ups and downs. Getting to see her confidently select a school was such an amazing moment.

Within MPF one of my favorite memories is the Talent Show at this past Fall Retreat. I was blown away by everyone’s talent and have not laughed that hard in a long time. It was a great way to kick off the year and I left feeling incredibly connected to the great group of Fellows I would be spending the service year with.

3. As you complete your second year with MPF, what is the greatest lesson you will take with you?

I have learned countless lessons from MPF that I will be taking with me. One big one that stands out is the importance of both/and thinking. So much of the work that is done within youth empowerment and social justice work fills areas that can’t be easily sorted into categories. Typically the more you learn, the more questions and uncertainties arise. There is not always a right or a wrong answer and it is more important to have these discussions to create a shared understanding. This has taught me the value of learning from others and respecting each other’s truths with young people, colleagues, and your peers. I will bring this perspective and intention with me moving forward.

4. Why would you encourage others to join MPF?

I enthusiastically encourage others interested in youth work to join MPF. I can confidently say that MPF has been a transformative experience for me. I am leaving as a different and more skilled person, empowered to continue working with young people. MPF staff provides Fellows with an amazing level of support in order to challenge them to be the best youth workers and people they can be. Throughout the year, you have the privilege of building relationships with phenomenal young people while building a sustainable and supportive network of peers and colleagues. Serving with MPF for the past two years, has been one of the most positive and enriching experiences I have had.

5. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Right now, I would love to go to Costa Rica or Argentina. Honestly, really anywhere in Central or South America. I am fascinated by the culture and history of Latin America and am always looking to learn more. I would love the opportunity to not only travel there, but live there for a year or two in order to get accustomed to the culture and work on my Spanish. In an ideal world, I would travel throughout the continent in order to gain understanding of the different cultures and dialects housed within South and Central America. 

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