AmeriCorps Massachusetts #PromiseFellows Making a Global Impact!

In honor of Thursday’s #ForeveraFellow day during Promise Fellow Week, we’re spotlighting two #PromiseFellow alums who are making a difference around the globe! 

Ashley Dezen, Massachusetts Promise Fellow, Classes 9 & 10 (2007-2009), Phichit, Thailand

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Ashley Dezen with her students in Phichit, Thailand

What did you do during your year of service?

I served from 2007-2009 with the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps in Lowell, MA. Alongside staff, I helped build their first mentoring program, engaging community members and community partners to participate in a youth focused mentorship program that focused on youth that had recently been incarcerated. I also partnered with Boston based street artist- Sidewalk Sam and his organization, to bring “Paint for Peace,” to Lowell, making it the second city in MA to participate. The skills I learned were invaluable throughout the next few years- mainly- listen first and then action second- to ensure that the youth participants are actively engaged.

What are you up to now?

Currently, I am a Youth in Development Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Phichit, Thailand! I lead youth focused activities in seven of my local schools and have partnered with the local government at the provinicial level to lead trainings for school teachers and administrators on youth focused learning and development.

Why are you a proud #ForeverPromiseFellow?

I am a proud #ForeverPromiseFellow because the community continues to inspire me. I often reflect on the work of both current and former Fellows, my former supervisors, and the community itself when I am in need of inspiration! The work is never done, but I have enduring faith that there is always hope, due in part to the people in my life from my Fellowship days.

Chelsea Stinson, Massachusetts Promise Fellow, Class 9 (2007-2008), Edinburgh, Scotland

What did you do during your year of service?

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Chelsea Stinson (right) with fellow Class 9 Fellow, Jessica James at the 2015 French Open at Roland-Garros

During my year as a Fellow, I served at Tenacity, an organisation that aims to improve the scholastic, character and physical development of urban youth by combining tennis instruction and academic support with a focus on life skills.  I facilitated the tennis programme for 75 young people at the Tenacity site in East Boston.  When I moved to Boston from Minnesota to begin my year of service, I viewed it as my first adventure away from home, but I wasn’t expecting the impact the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship would have on my life.  Being a Fellow made me more aware of the injustice and inequalities  children and young people face in our communities; it also reminded me of the incredible passion, determination, humour and love with which they face the world.  This has influenced the decisions I’ve made since finishing my year of service.

What are you up to now?

I am currently the Children’s Voices Programme Manager at Children’s Parliament, a non-profit organisation based in Edinburgh, Scotland that works for a future where all children in Scotland are actively engaged in shaping our world.  We work creatively and provide opportunities for children to share their experiences and opinions so that they can influence life at home, in school and in the community.  On 1st April 2015, we held our first National Sitting of Children’s Parliament, bringing together 75 children age 6 to 14 from across the country with 75 adults from Scottish Government, local authorities, universities, third sector organisations and other public bodies to discuss children’s wellbeing and what they need in life to be healthy, happy and safe.  This was the largest event we’ve ever held and I was enormously proud of the children and how engaged, thoughtful, empathetic and imaginative they were on the day.  Additionally, I sit on the Board of Trustees for Together, the Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights, and volunteer as the assistant coach for a U16 girls’ basketball team in Edinburgh.

Why are you a proud #ForeverPromiseFellow?

I am a proud #ForeverPromiseFellow because children and young people have so much to offer the world and MPF believes in them and supports them to make a difference.

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