Fighting Poverty with Passion
It’s getting warmer out there! The familiar feeling of the too-hot sun making me roll up my sleeves as I walk to work is back, which means that spring is here. I want to take a page out of my friend and colleague Alle Ehrhardt’s e-book and take this blog opportunity to express gratitude for some of the fantastic things that my VISTA position at Cowen Institute has brought me.
Typically my blogs center around the most recent challenge at work, what I try to do to overcome that particular roadblock, and my goals for the future to tackle adversity in my role. While there are of course still obstacles in my work, things are generally chugging along, and I want to stop and try to appreciate all there is to be thankful for.
I have had the chance to work with some amazing professionals at Cowen Institute. I am fresh out of undergraduate at Tulane, and very few people in my position would ever have the opportunity to step into an office of such intelligent, talented, and passionate individuals, like I have done in my role at Cowen. Beyond being excellent at what they do, I am privileged to count a number of them as my friends.
Brandy Williams, pictured here, has been so very helpful in assisting me develop both professionally and personally. I can always count on her to help me work through my work challenges as well as stressors in my personal life. I try to lend advice and perspective when she comes to me with her qualms, too. We have fantastic walking meetings together and hers is a relationship I know will extend past my VISTA term.
Brandy is just one example of a great coworker I have connected with. My favorite element of my job at Cowen Institute is the fact that I have so many interactions with fascinating, considerate people. I also get to work with some outstanding young people. I have mentioned before that I now supervise two apprentices in our Earn and Learn program, Krisie Marie and Sean Taylor. In addition to those two, I regularly get to talk and meet with our other 15 apprentices, who each make me proud, make me laugh, and brighten my days in a myriad of ways.
I’ve had professional opportunities that most people my age haven’t. I am the go-to guy when it comes to uploading new content on our website, and I’ve had a hand in changing its structure, and will help out when we transition to a new site. I supervise the professional development of two young people who aren’t too far removed from me in age. I’ve performed audits, edited reports, helped write press releases, managed social media accounts, bottom-lined some big decisions, and more. I’ve ‘managed up’ on a number of projects, getting the aforementioned education professionals to collaborate on office initiatives. It’s true that some of these very same accomplishments I tout now have been pains in the past, but to struggle is to grow, and I am sincerely appreciative to have these opportunities.
Beyond my office life, I am also wildly grateful to have met all of my fellow VISTAs. I have learned so much from my peers in the Tulane VISTA cohort, and it’s been a pleasure to serve alongside all of you. Whenever I feel down, I can turn to so many supporting forces in my life to be reassured that things will, in fact, be OK. Thanks to all of you. Until next time!