BENEFITING: Good Shepherd Services
ORGANIZER: Good Shepherd Services
Dear friends and family,
I have decided to run the New York City Marathon on November 5th, 2017. This will be my second marathon, as I ran the Paris Marathon in April 2015 during the year I spent teaching in Northern France. As some of you may know, getting into the New York City marathon is really difficult. Fortunately, the non-profit I've been working for since September 2016, Good Shepherd Services, has a team which I can run the marathon for. In order to qualify to run on their team, however, I need to raise $2,500 for Good Shepherd Services by mid-October.
Good Shepherd Services does incredible work in New York City. I have pasted the link below so that you can learn more about the mission and history of the organization. Despite its Catholic history, Good Shepherd Services is a secular organization, which is not affiliated with the Catholic Church.
I would like to speak to my own experience with the organization a bit. Good Shepherd Services does the thankless work of filling in the gaps left by other institutions and social service providers in New York City. The work I do at Automotive High School Young Adult Borough Center (YABC) as an Internship and Career Coordinator is a beautiful example of the gaps Good Shepherd Services fills within the Department of Education. YABCs serve students who were unable to complete high school in four years, and are pushed out of their high school due to the age limits of traditional high schools. Our YABC runs as a night school from 4:30pm to 9:00pm for students aged 17.5 through 21, who are over-aged and under-credited.
Good Shepherd Services establishes a team of support staff for our students that acknowledges them as whole beings. Good Shepherd Services places each student with a counselor who works with our students’ on their social and emotional care and growth. It also places two Internship and Career Coordinators (which is my role) at each YABC, so that students have the opportunity to make money and gain professional experience while attending their YABC. As the Internship and Career Coordinator here at Automotive YABC I place students at paid internships of their choosing, and mentor them through the process of getting and holding a job. Gaining professional experience is such an obstacle in many of our students’ lives, particularly in the age of unpaid internships. Being guided and supported through the process of finding a job, interviewing, setting a schedule, building a relationship with supervisors and showing up consistently to a job is, I believe, some of the most valuable learning that happens at our YABC (though, of course, I’m a little bias).
In addition to the daily work of Internship and Career Coordinator, I also have had the privilege of playing a role in organizing, facilitating and participating in engagement activities for our students. Engagement activities build the communal component of our YABC, and have done so much to expand the role our school plays in our students’ lives. This Spring I organized an overnight camping trip for our students, which involved nature walks, low and high ropes courses, and most importantly, exposure to the healing and calm the great outdoors provides. During Spring break we planned a different activity every day of the break for our students, to keep them engaged in our community, as high absences following school breaks is a real issue we face. Spring break activities included going to the movies, bowling, the Bronx Zoo, and the Museum of Natural History. This Spring we also held a college trip to Morgan State, a historically black university in Baltimore. On-campus engagement activities this Spring also included College and Career Night, Health and Wellness Fair, and No Stress Zone. Every one of the engagement activities we offer our students is paid for by Good Shepherd Services, so that no students are excluded from our community due to their financial situation.
In conclusion, I can say with confidence that were it not for the staff and services that Good Shepherd Services provide to Automotive YABC, many of our students would not show up to school, and therefore would not graduate high school. Good Shepherd Services recognizes that our students come to our school needing more than what teachers can provide, and thanks to the resources and values of our organization, we as Good Shepherd Services staff are able to meet our students wherever where they are.
Thank you for your time and love. I hope you can donate to my marathon fundraiser, and if not, all thoughts and wishes on the day of the marathon will be received and appreciated! I’m so excited that my professional journey and my running journey are meeting, and that I can share a bit of this journey with you. Please see my fundraising website below to donate and find some pictures of the beautiful students I get the chance to work with through Good Shepherd Services!