Will Pickens

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.
3. What are some of the greatest benefits of being a Massachusetts Promise Fellow?

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
4. Describe the next five years of your life, and your plans, in a single sentence.
For the next 5 years of my life I will focus on completing my Bachelor’s in Finance Account Management, while continuing efforts to implement a Financial Literacy Curriculum in the Worcester Public High-schools.

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.


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