Allison Zacarias is serving her second year at Youth Enrichment Services as the College Prep Fellow
1. How have you grown both professionally and personally since your first year of service at Youth Enrichment Services?
When I started the fellowship and serving at my host site, I was very scared. I felt as if I was in over my head and not experienced or skilled enough to do what I had to do. After a few months of serving and meeting my youth, I got the hang of things and realized I was more than capable of getting things done.
I’ve gained valuable professional experience at YES which has led to a boost in confidence in realizing what I am capable of accomplishing. I am very appreciative of the autonomy I’ve been given at YES because I have had the ability to express and implement ideas for growth.
2. Describe your favorite project at your host site.
My favorite project is our new College Prep Program for 9th graders. It is a 4-year program geared towards preparing students, beginning in 9th grade, each year with different experiences and skills so that they are competitive college applicants come senior year.
This is my favorite project because it engages students from the start. Freshman year is a beautiful year because students get a new start at becoming the best self they can be. They can excel academically and socially if provided with the support they need, when they need it.
My favorite moments:
-When one of my youth taught another youth about a resource he learned through YES’ College Prep Program…
-After a 1-on-1 a youth said to me, “You know, it’s great that there are people like you and organizations like this [YES] that help kids like me…for free! That’s awesome and I really appreciate it.”
-When a student invited me to his high school graduation. He said he wanted all important, influential people in his life to attend.
These are important moments that have contributed to my favorite memory of the Fellowship–that the service I’ve provided is influential and appreciated (both on the youth I’ve served and to myself).
4. What are your career aspirations post MPF?
Post MPF, I’d like to enroll in grad school to attain a Masters in Social Work. I greatly enjoy direct service and specifically working with teenage youth. My experience at YES and MPF has guided me into determining that college success and youth development are my passions.
5.What animal best describes your leadership style?
A golden retriever best describes my leadership style because it is a calm, quiet, dependable and easy-going animal. I am a reserved leader who might not command a lot of attention but I get things done.