Will Pickens is a Second Year Fellow serving at Pernet Family Health Services, Inc. as the Youth Garden Coordinator
1. What motivated you to do a second year of service with MPF?
As a second year Fellow there were two motivating factors that influenced my commitment to another service year…
- The chance to continue serving with a group of Juniors & Seniors during afterschool programming, allowing me the experience of witnessing this group of students succeed to next steps in their young lives.
- Another year of service which provides training and workshops on topics of Professional Development, Community Service, Racism & Classism, LBGQTAI+, Ableism, Youth Worker Best Practices, Self-Care, etc.
2. Share an example of how your years of service made an impact with your youth/host site.
- My service has lead me to serve with 20+ families, connecting the students of these families to over 60+ local college volunteers. The volunteers successfully provide after school programming which supports the students’ academic performance and emotional development.
- In one specific case throughout my service years, I have had the amazing opportunity to mentor and be a “caring adult” to a young-male whom graduated high-school via “alternative schooling” and still experiences homelessness. Though, with our collaborative efforts we have managed to keep our “head above waters” with “high hopes” and developed a strategic plan for this young-male to overcome the challenges of poverty. This young-male has obtained his first job, began saving for his post high-school education, and continues to check-in with me to keep up with the plan.
Here is my list not in any specific order…
- Ed Segal Award
- Over 200 hours of Professional Development & Training
- Youth work and non-profit management experience
- Valuable networking opportunities
- Free courses at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies & discounted courses upon successful completion of the service year
5. What life-long lessons have you learned during your time in the Fellowship?
OPPRESSION is real!! OPPRESSION is felt!!! I can’t end its existence, though, I can learn & become more aware of its power (no pun intended) in order to teach and educate my peers of its existence.