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Promise Fellow Spotlight: Vanessa Nesbitt

About Vanessa:  

I attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and studied Spanish and Education. During my senior year of college, I student taught Spanish levels II and III at a local high school.  I also had the opportunity to study abroad in Valparaiso, Chile where I took Spanish Literature classes at a Chilean University. 

A Day In My Life as an AmeriCorps Member: 

I spend the majority of my days at Partnership Academy, a charter school in Richfield. Over the course of the day I greet adult members of the community who mentor students and help facilitate the lunch buddies program. Each day we have between 8-10 pairs who meet over the lunch hour to play games, talk about life, create art, etc. I also coordinate the 40 volunteers who serve our After School Program. I work one-on-one with students and assist teachers when needed. I am fortunate to help out in the planning and implementation of the art club one day a week during the after school program.

Youth Success—an Example: 

Rafael, a 6th grade student, was performing very poorly in most subjects in school. He disrupted other students during class and disrespected his teachers. I learned through benchmark reading assessments that Rafael was reading 4 grades below grade level. In the After School Program he was expected to read 30 minutes a day but Rafael would generally read for 5 minutes and then distract the other students. His excuse was that books were “stupid” and “boring” until I helped him find books on soccer, a subject he loves. Now he reads for a full 30 minutes each day and has risen two reading levels in just 5 months.

Why I Serve with the Minnesota Alliance With Youth: 

I have always believed that knowledge is power and that education is the key to success, self-sufficiency and happiness. I was blessed with many educational opportunities in my life and I now feel passionate about empowering others through education. While serving as a Promise Fellow, I get to empower a whole school of students! I serve to give back to a community which gave me so much and to help excite students about learning!

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