When I received news in mid-August 2016 that I had been selected as a Future Leaders in Action fellow, I instantly became enthusiastic about what my post-graduate life held for me. The work I did with youth-oriented programs was a formative part of my undergraduate career; a fellowship at Fiver Children’s Foundation would allow me to continue that type of social work I am passionate about, as well as allow me to continue developing my leadership skills.
As my three-month fellowship at Fiver now comes to an end, I can confidently assert that I have not only maximized the professional experience, but that I have forged positive and memorable relationships with Fiver families and staff.
Developing meaningful relationships with families and staff was one of my top goals going into the fellowship and I am happy that I was able to accomplish that.
Aside from personal goals that I hoped to achieve by the end of my fellowship (like fundraising and networking), the fellowship at Fiver came with its own set of objectives, from planning and facilitating workshops, to monthly family engagement events, developing a family newsletter, and providing orientation to the families of children new to Fiver. After three months at Fiver, all of these objectives have been reached and there was even time and resources for me to surpass original expectations.
1. Originally, I was expected to plan and facilitate two workshop series, each to be held for a month and at least twice in that month.
After planning these two series, there was enough time and resources to plan and facilitate a third parent workshop series. The workshop topics included:
- Setting Family Goals
- How to Manage Stress and Anger
- Community Risk & Protective Factors: Building Family Resiliency
I facilitated the workshops in both English and Spanish to make the information provided more accessible to Fiver families.
2. I helped plan and execute three family events:
- October Halloween Party
- November Family Potluck
- December Holiday Party
This was one of my favorite parts of the fellowship at Fiver since it involved interacting with many Fiver families through fun activities and games, over delicious food, and with good conversation.
3. Once per month, I created a family newsletter
that included announcements of upcoming Fiver events and workshops, free and low cost activities to do in NYC, and an article related to that month’s workshop topic.
I believe that the work I have done during my time as a fellow with is important and meaningful in the context of youth and family development and education. After the fellowship, I am happy to keep working at Fiver as the Family Engagement Specialist, where I will continue striving to serve the entire family as a unit, rather than separately.