Life at W&B has been good. Only one month in and I’m currently engaged in something like five projects so there’s plenty to keep me very busy. The staff has also been very helpful and I was fortunate to have the excellent former VISTA help me with my transition for the first month. I am also very fortunate that she has taken on the role as our RYY leader!
I’m currently working on recruiting high school students for a new program that we are starting up this fall. The program is aimed at students interested in journalism and media and will give them the opportunity to work with a professional mentor to create broadcast-ready stories (that will be aired online and on network tv!) . The ultimate goal of this program is to help transform the image of Rochester’s youth–an image in desperate need of repair. Besides that, I’m waiting to hear back on a grant that we submitted in late August for a creative writing residency in late fall, and I’m creating a demographic database of the youth that we serve. I am also researching assessment tools for our youth programming and will hopefully have something up and running in the late winter/spring. There are a few other projects, but the aforementioned are my main ones as of now.
I am getting a great introduction to program management as well as development, two skills that will be very useful for my future career. I’m also learning a lot about Rochester, both through my work and through living here for the past two months. It has been two very different things at the same time: eye-opening and pleasant. To start with “pleasant,” my area is great–full of cafes, restaurants, young people, bicycles and art. But also “eye-opening,” in that extreme pockets of poverty are, for lack of a better word, bountiful. What surprises me even more is that in my conversations with Rochesterarians, very few actually know Rochester’s history and how it came to be so separated. As an outsider, I am very sensitive to changes in neighborhoods from one block to the next, but it seems as though Rochesterarians continue to ignore the very problems that blight their city.