If you asked my teachers and peers what I was like in middle and high school many would describe me as a “free spirit”, “collaborative”, “strong willed”, and “opinionated.” I loved learning, but also liked to ask questions. I participated in the traditional leadership opportunities in school such as student government, but when the school year was over my summers were spent playing outside and hanging out with friends.
It wasn’t until I was introduced to local youth community organizations that my leadership began to grow. I learned how to work with a diverse group of people, facilitate meetings, manage my time effectively, plan community events, and network. These skills I learned way back then have become strengths in my personal and professional life.
There is a lot of research about summer learning and its effects on student achievement. While academics are important, I believe that extracurriculars, especially in the summer, are just as valuable. I’m happy that Generation Citizen Rhode Island has two great summer opportunities for students who are looking to cultivate their advocacy, and make a difference in their community.
Opportunity 1: Generation Citizen’s Student Leadership Board (SLB) draws together young leaders from across the country to bring student voice to every level of organizational operations, from program development to thought leadership to local partnership development. The SLB is comprised of 2-3 alumni of GC’s programs each of its six sites (CA, MA, NY, OK, RI, and TX). Board members attend an all-expenses-paid summer retreat in New York City, participate in monthly conference calls with the board and ongoing local GC events, and receive a $1,000 stipend for their year of service.
Opportunity 2: Also, Generation Citizen RI just received a grant from the City of Providence to launch the Community Change Fellowship. It is a stipend-paid internship opportunity for GC alumni to continue their learning and community engagement in a professional political environment. Fellows are placed in advocacy and governmental offices, and supported with professional development workshops throughout the summer. CCF cultivates leadership skills and advances a young person’s commitment to community engagement and advocacy.
I wouldn’t be the leader I am today if it weren’t for youth organizers who took interest in me and saw that I had potential. If you know any students who you feel that would benefit from this opportunity, encourage them to apply. They will be glad you sought them out.
Program Associate, Rhode Island