I started working at YMPJ the summer of 2017 when I was 21. My job was through their Summer Youth program. I was excited to work with a local organization that had a similar focus to what I went to school for, which was Sociology with minors in Environmental Studies and Race/Ethnic Studies.
Since working at YMPJ, I have earned my bachelors degree and worked at a few non profits: an elementary school and the Bronx River Alliance. Currently, I am an executive assistant at the Climate Justice Alliance. YMPJ really allowed me to get my feet wet regarding local community actions which helped pave the way for my current career path at a nation wide environmental organization.
I continue to stay connected with YMPJ because they genuinely provided me with a space to learn when I was still trying to figure out what career path made sense for me. Being a part of the organization allowed me to see the real life impact of community engagement and activism. People like David and Dariella were great mentors for me at the time. They showed me how to move within activist and political spaces while keeping community and people first.
My favorite memory from YMPJ will always be getting to do tours on SWALE, a food “forest” that our community built on a garbage barge in Concrete Plant Park. During that particular summer I made so many connections with folks from my community, summer youth staff, and other non-profits who shared a similar mission. We were able to have fun, educate our neighbors on healthy food practices, learn about the importance of gardening, and reflect on food systems within our neighborhood and how we can shape them to actually be beneficial for us. I look back at those days and view them as foundational blocks for my career and some of the most fun work days I have had so far.
I hope that other youth get to have an experience like mine or better. YMPJ is a space where you will not only be accepted but celebrated. I hope that you will consider donating to their campaign so they can continue to make positive impacts on our community and develop the youth of today to be the leaders of tomorrow.