Borough: Staten Island
Favorite Book: A Child Called It
Favorite Movie: God’s Not Dead
Place I Most Want to Visit: Cuba
People I'd Most Like to Meet:
Members of the band Elevation Worship
Favorite NYC Restaurant: Black Tap
Favorite Sports Team: New York Yankees
Most Important Quality In A Student:
What brought you to Read Alliance?
In December of 2015, I started as a Teen Leader, during my senior year of high school. I’ve always wanted to work with children and serve my community. I thought I would get to make a difference in young children’s lives after college, not knowing I would have this opportunity as early as high school. When I saw a Read Alliance presentation at my high school, and learned we would get to do one-to-one tutoring with children, I knew right away I wanted to work with the program.
I was promoted to Senior Teen Leader in February of 2016, and worked in this role for two-and-a-half school years, while in college. I was promoted to Recruitment Associate on June 11, 2018. In this role, I work part-time recruiting and supporting Teen Leaders while attending college.
Being a Senior Teen Leader pushed me to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. It was the first time I was put in a position to lead, which helped shape the way I am able to address the teen leaders in my current role. I’m more conscious in taking the time to thank them for working with us as opposed to working for us because being a Senior Teen Leader has shown me that what we do is truly a team effort.
Today, I’m looking into pursuing a Master’s in Education and becoming a teacher because of Read Alliance. I explained to the Education Department at my college what I want to do and how I’ve worked in the classroom for three years and they know I’m ready for it.
What is the role of a Senior Teen Leader?
As a Senior Teen Leader, you must play more of a leadership role. You are leading not just one student but all of the students and all of the Teen Leaders. There are certain problem-solving skills you need to have. I’ve encountered students who were struggling a lot. In these cases, we worked hand-in-hand with the teacher on site in deciding how we would help the student, and had the student practice his alphabet first.
I went back to visit the school [where I was a Senior Teen Leader] not too long ago and saw one of these students. He is still on Set One [the set of books at the first reading level] but had progressed very well. I was able to read with him, and he was excited about it. Whenever he finished a book, he would celebrate with a high-five.
When did you first realize your impact as a Teen Leader?
One time, a student had to leave early. As she left with her mom, she would not stop crying the entire way out because she didn’t want to stop reading. “I want to finish the book,” she said. Also, the students see you in the community. One of the students I worked with saw me in the supermarket and gave me a hug. I asked if she was still reading and she said “yes.” I think it’s important that the Teen Leaders working with the students are in the same community.