Fellow of the Week – Ashley Belizaire

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Ashley is serving her first year with Youth Enrichment Services (YES)

What inspires you to serve?
My college experience was very difficult. Once I graduated I spent a long time wallowing in my own disappointment until a friend of mine referred me to the fellowship. After reading the description I felt as though this would be a good opportunity to utilize a bad situation to do good. I am inspired to use my life experience to serve students in the best possible way, and give them the caring adult I wish I had.
Why would you encourage others to join the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship?
Joining MPF was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. Through the fellowship, I’ve gained knowledge, skills, and an invaluable network of support and connections. It was an amazing opportunity to better myself and gain confidence in my skills and ability while helping and improving my community and very few programs can offer this.

Who has been your biggest support this year?
My friends have been a great support system for me since the beginning. I don’t believe I would have the confidence to apply for this position if it wasn’t for their encouragement. Also my MPF Fellows. Its astounding how you can meet people and instantly feel a connection, one that extends beyond the fellowship and I feel like I can count on many of my fellows for love and support. I am grateful that we are all in this together.
Describe the greatest adventure of your life.
 This fellowship has been one of the greatest adventures of my life. I went from a pharmaceutical science major working at a pharmaceutical company to a college prep coordinator working at a non-profit. It’s been a drastic change that admittedly had its challenges but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I’ve met people from different walks of life. I learned and gained knowledge on different topics and issues. I’ve taken on projects I could never dream of completing. I’ve impacted people in a ways I couldn’t imagine. All those things make this journey through MPF an incredible milestone in my life.
What do you do to practice self-care?
I practice self-care through social outings with my friends. I do a weekly or biweekly night with one of my really good friends where we go to a restaurant and just sit and talk for hours over food and drinks. It’s a great time to be decompress after a long week with good food and good friends.
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