Lunch Mentoring Coordinator

Dear PM and TLs:

The lunch mentoring coordinating role has interested me since I first heard of the “50 Acts of Leadership” model.  Leadership has become a passion of mine since freshman year in college; not being a leader, but helping individuals, including myself, become self-aware leaders. I joined a program called the Outdoor Leadership Environmental Education Program where a group of Brown Univ. students and Providence high school students came together once a week to engage in environmental education and leadership. One of our prominent leadership activities was the leadership compass. Over the past 4 years I have participated in and facilitated this activity many times, and each time I learn something new about myself. By having the opportunity to self-reflect and hear from others, I have gained confidence in embracing my leadership strengths and challenges.

This role would give me the ability to continue this engagement with my own and others’ leadership developments. Lunch mentoring has the potential to instill confidence in high school students by supporting their leadership development. This confidence, if increased, will translate to their classroom participation and effort, especially when taking risks or stepping outside of comfort zones. I hope to help our team achieve this with students through an integration of intentional discussions and team building activities. My experience as a facilitator on a low-ropes course highlighted the power that simple tasks and challenges have on bringing out the hidden or apparent concerns within  group dynamics, which inevitably can lead to strong debriefs that allow students to consider their own leadership in relation to their self and peers.

While I know this position requires targeted planning and specific initiatives for students, I hope to work with our team to balance surface-level “fun” with deep and meaningful activities that, given a safe-space environment, will spark insightful discussion and self-awareness among all participants.

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Una Semana

Es viernes. And one week of BTA (Basic Training Academy 2013) for City Year Miami has been completed. It has been a powerful, motivating, engaging, inspiring, and difficult first week. We have been exposed to topics ranging from Idealism, Inclusivity, Growth Mindset, LGBTQ Diversity, ETO (Education Transformation Office), and Miami Transit (#gotransit). These are only a few  topics among the vast range of discussions and activities we have been engaging with as a City Year community.

If I had to choose a topic that has been applicable in many situations this week, it would have to be the discussion on fixed and growth mindsets (See image borrowed from http://qedfoundation.org). To offer a short example… “I just don’t have math in my genes.” This is a common phrase you will here from individuals of many ages. Why don’t we ever hear people say, “I am just illiterate”? Math seems to be a subject of which we can excuse our self from if we are not immediately successful. (While I would like to include an argument here on science, objectivity, and falsifiability, I will leave that for your own speculation.) But, this example stems from the thought process of a fixed mindset. We all have this in some areas of our life: I can’t run, cooking is not for me, I am not creative enough. A perspective of a growth mindset would allow individuals to notice and engage with obstacles or challenges with EFFORT. A fixed mindset perspective usually has difficulty in valuing this form of effort. Sometimes effort is seen as negative or as not worthwhile. But, we should be rewarded for our successes and efforts. Each of us range on a spectrum between these two mindsets, especially with different domains of thought. But we must seek to understand the benefits a growth mindset can offer us in completing tasks and renewing our perspective of our daily lives.

Another topic that has been constantly on my mind has been the LGBTQ Diversity workshop. As an individual who identifies with and places himself within this community, I entered the conversation with an open, but critical, mind. It was emotional and eye opening for many. I acknowledge the difficulty of presenting and/or facilitating a conversation like this. Coming from a very liberal and accepting college campus, I sometimes forget that in order to present this topic to a diverse audience we must be careful not to push people too far from their comfort zones (into panic mode). I struggle with this issue with my own friends and family from Louisiana. However, this conversation at BTA was engaging and thoughtful, especially for those who haven’t had the opportunity to think broadly about the lives of individuals within the LGBTQ community. However, again as an individual who identifies with and places himself within this community, it was difficult to get through. It was difficult to hear stories of how LGBTQ individuals struggle, knowing that I went through those struggles. It was difficult (and maybe rewarding) to hear the voices of other’s saying they never thought about heterosexual privilege. And, in an effort for conciseness, there are many other thoughts and speculations I had from this short session.  As someone who has been through a very large range of trainings, I know that when 1 to 2 hour talks leave you with this many thoughts (as in both the LGBTQ and mindset discussion), you know there was something important, relevant, and impactful about the speaker'(s) and other conversation participants’ words. I am grateful for that opportunity.

So, as I begin my journey as a City Year Corps Member with my Journey and School teams, I look forward to more engaging and thoughtful conversations that bring us as a community together to better serve our amazing students this year.

Gracias a todos.

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¡Bienvenidos a Miami!

Finally moved in and settled. City Year registration is tomorrow and things are looking bright. Today my roommate and I purchased bikes to get around Little Havana and greater Miami. The apartment is great minus a few bug problems. I’ve laid out all materials needed for the big day. I’m excited to start and #makebetterhappen (a hashtag City Year has popularized with its powerful moments and social media integration). I’ll try my best to document my time here in Miami. ¡Va a ser maravilloso!

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