FELLOW OF THE WEEK: LAUREN SIMAO

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Lauren is a First Year Fellow serving at MGH Center for Community Health Improvement as The Youth Scholars Fellow!

1. What inspired you to become passionate about service? 

My passion for service really began during my sophomore year at Boston College in an academic service-learning program called PULSE. I served at Rosie’s Place, a sanctuary for poor and homeless women in Boston, in their overnight shelter one night a week for the entire year. The women I met shared their stories with me, and as I began to learn about systemic issues of discrimination and injustice, I developed a passion for social justice. I also developed an understanding of solidarity and social justice that has continued to grow in me to this day. Everything I have done since my first introduction to PULSE has been based on this commitment to service, solidarity, social justice, and compassion.

2. Describe your favorite project at your host site this year or what will be your favorite project?

Tough question – but I am particularly excited for the college visits we will be going on this year. My work is with high school juniors, and we spend a great deal of time on college readiness and discernment, and college visits are a great way to learn about college and make those important decisions. I do have to say that I am also particularly excited for a social justice centered curriculum I am spearheading for our program this year as a new initiative, since it is a distinct passion of mine (as you just learned above)!

3. What does a perfect day look like to you?

I don’t think there’s one kind of perfect day, but I guess it would involve something active and outdoorsy. I love being outside – I feel so much more connected to the world and more in touch with my own sense of self. Everything just makes more sense in open spaces in nature! So temperature wise, maybe a warm Spring-like day, going hiking or kayaking with the people who are most important to me. Then that night the opportunity to dance, my other favorite thing!!

4. If you could only keep 4 possessions what would they be and why?

  1. Passport – I can’t imagine a life without traveling.
  2. Laptop – So I can stay connected with my family and friends, and continue blogging! Plus all the other great and important things laptops can do (play music, get directions, store photos, etc.)
  3. My necklace of Africa with a heart in South Africa – It’s probably the most sentimental item I own, and reminds me of all the wonderful experiences I had and people I met while studying abroad in South Africa.
  4. iPhone – I went back and forth on this one, since it’s similar to my laptop in a lot of ways, but having two ways to connect isn’t a bad thing, plus it would allow me to take photos and have access to tons of resources (and my soca playlist) on the go!

5. Who was your Caring Adult in high school and how did they provide you with a Safe Place to feel comfortable in? 

I am privileged to have had many caring adults throughout my life, and the first people that come to mind from high school are my athletic coaches. I was a three sport athlete in high school, and my teams were really important to me. So I spent a lot of time with my soccer, track, and tennis coaches after school, from whom I developed great team and leadership skills. They challenged me to work hard and to constantly look for ways to improve my abilities. They had great confidence in me which helped me to be more confident in myself, and celebrating team wins and personal achievements with them was an incredibly powerful thing!

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