Bella is serving her first year with St. Stephen’s Youth Programs.
What inspires you to serve?
I have always felt the desire to give of myself to others. I have too much love in my heart not spread it to all those who cross my path. I am lucky enough to give this love to the youth I work with everyday. They inspire me to take matters as they are and grow from them and become a better and more resilient person through whatever challenge comes before me.
What social justice issue are you most passionate about and why?
I want youth to feel safe, protected and important. Gun and community violence affect many of the youth I work with and I want to be a part of the movement that stops that. I will start by being that person to make them feel safe, protected and important.
Why would you encourage others to join the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship?
MPF has brought me more than I could ever ask for. Graduating with a Global Studies B.A. at Lesley University had me so focused on all the global issues around the world. Although I do hope to one day be an active part in reducing our global issues, MPF has helped me realize that love, support and activism are needed right here, in my own backyard, in the communities I am surrounded by everyday. MPF has given me a new perspective and has fueled my passion to give of myself to others, especially youth.
Who has been your biggest support this year?
My family and my friends have given me all the support I could possibly need. Whether they took me in for the two-weeks when I didn’t yet have a home here in Boston, or believed in my crazy idea to just get up and leave California for a fellowship I knew could possibly change my life, they supported me. They encouraged me, loved me, and pushed me to be the best youth worker and person I could be.
Describe the greatest adventure of your life.
The greatest adventure of my life would be my experience in Guatemala with TOMS shoes. I had the opportunity to deliver and put TOMS shoes on kids in some of the poorest Guatemalan communities. Many times, people go into experiences like this believing they will be the ones to change the lives of those they are serving. I have found that I am the one who comes back feeling a sense of gratitude toward the people of that country for teaching me more about love, appreciation and kindness than anyone else.
What do you do to practice self-care?
I go to coffee shops (and people watch). I watch Gilmore Girls. I play soccer. I sing. I sleep. I surround myself with people who make me the best version of myself. And I talk to my mom on the phone.
What benefits have you been able to take advantage of as a Massachusetts Promise
Fellow and how has your experience been with those benefits?
I have made sure to embrace and love all the other fellows, who I believe are some of the most gracious people in the world. It is not often that you get to spend full days with people who have the same passions and goals as you. The trainings that our monthly meetings have brought us have taught me more about self-care, trauma, undocumented youth, and how to be the best youth worker I can be than any other institution I have been a part of.
How is MPF preparing you for your future career aspirations?
MPF has helped me realize that I can do more for this world by doing it right her in the community I live in. It has solidified my desire to work with youth who need more love and support because of the communities and environments they may have grown up in, especially teenagers. I want to continue to be that person who the youth I work with can count on, believe in, and confide in.