The Intergenerational Change Initiative’s current projects include the Change Focus NYC project which I am very honored to be a part of this fall semester. I joined the team in late August, and I’ve learned so much from the current researchers including ways to build and sustain a positive community amongst youth and adult researchers. When we first meet, we always check in with each other. Whether it’s a structured ice breaker or a quick “how is your week going?” our ability to assess the energy within the group is tantamount and important to preparing for the work that we do each week.
Our sessions include opportunities for all team members to share their thoughts, reflect on the analysis of the research and ask pertinent questions. Since we have a great deal of projects at different stages, we break into groups to increase overall productivity and each member selects a subproject to work on. During the last third of our session, we find time to discuss our progress, identify next steps, and complete written reflections to document our feelings. The time we spend working in mini-groups also provide opportunities for us to bond through the data analysis process and our ability to be creative and listen to each other. There are many “fun” moments of research which include engaging the mind, appreciating the intelligence of others, and discovering new things from the data that happen naturally through our work. It’s one of the many benefits of working amongst youth and adult researchers and the great experiences is a component that helps to build and sustain the community we are creating around the work that we do.
- Rachel J
ICI takes pride in creating positive spaces and inspiring change-makers to impact the community in a positive way and lead social justice change. It is an honor to work with sharp and progressive-thinking youth and adult researchers within the institute. It is also a pleasure to watch our alumni go on to use their gifts and cultivated skills in communities that extend beyond our current work. Over the holiday break, we were bestowed an opportunity to check in with Ayanni Godbold, an ICI alumnus, who is currently enrolled at Howard University with a 4.0 GPA!
Ayanni reflects on her journey thus far, shares advice for current researchers, and leaves a few words of inspiration that will inspire us in 2018 and beyond.
Read her thoughts below!
I am currently back home in NYC because I am on break from college but I usually reside in Washington D.C. at Howard University. At Howard I am a freshman majoring in Administration of Justice aka Criminology/ Sociology. I’m enrolled so far in three orgs: the HU Mock Trial Team, The New York Club, and Breaking the cycle (which is similar to the work I use to do with you guys at ICI).
While working at ICI, I’ve learned how important it is to surround yourself with the right type of people especially when it comes to research. When in a healthy and supportive environment, research becomes more then just research. It consist of passion and makes your finding more enthusiastic. I also learned how important it is to put yourself In other people shoes. When you do this you start to view the world from different perspectives and tend to be more appreciative of where you are. It also makes you want to help people who are not so fortunate to reach the same opportunities you have been able to as well.
My favorite part of working with this institution was traveling with them. When traveling we got to know each other even better then before, while still staying on track with our research, and its purpose. As well as also having fun and enjoying each other personalities.
The program actually helped me realize how fun research is. I had done research projects for school, and other activities before, but joining the program gave me a whole new outlook on how enjoyable it is. As for as the activist part it helped me realize that I really do want to spend my life helping people who need the help. There are so many people in the world who aren’t given the best opportunities, but have so much potential that they need to put to use and all they need is to have some push them, and tell them they are able to amount to their dream. I desire to be that very person, the one that makes them realize they can and they will.
In the future I plan on being a lawyer or professional within the criminology field. I will be a famous dancer as well who opens up a community center to cater towards young kids dreams and aspirations.
To the future researchers: if it’s one thing I can tell you, it’s to always put your heart and soul in everything you work towards. There is no purpose in work if you don’t give it you all so go big or go home :). No but really, just go big because Sarah and everyone else at ICI is working on something big here and they need every last one of you guys help make this grow and evolve!
We are excited to share that the researchers from our Intergenerational Change Initiative team are heading to Phoenix, Arizona this coming March 2018 to participate in the Innovations In Participatory Democracy Conference. We will join more than 250 youth, educators, advocates, elected officials, and researchers to explore innovations that will make real impact! We look forward to fine tuning our workshop plan. Check back for more updates as we prepare for the workshop!!
Vice Chair, Student Programming Board Concerts Committee (bringing Post Malone and Dave East to campus in 2 weeks!)
Events Coordinator, American Sign Language Club
Faculty Senate Committee Member - Member of the EOP Advisory Committee
Student Ambassador, Admissions Office
Binghamton Telefund, Paid Student Professional Fundraiser
Resident Assistant (RA’) - Dickinson Community
Participating in the institute this past summer was both a fun and fulfilling experience---I especially enjoyed having the ability to work with fellow young adults whilst delving into larger issues that affected the youth around us. The institute allowed me to see beyond myself and welled up a passion for change inside me. Hearing the stories, watching the faces and understanding the systems that have served as hindrances in the journey of many my age was both heart aching experience and one that I will carry forever; into wherever my field takes me in the future.
My advice to anyone joining the research team is to
take this seriously--you have an amazing opportunity to work for the ICI that is truly like no other. Beyond the personal advantages of having this job, remember the work you do will mean the world when institutions above us take the time to listen. I really can’t stress this enough. I’m disappointed that I can’t participate from 4 hours away, but for those of who you can: make the most of it. Use your voice for those who can’t, and work each day with both appreciation for those around you, and especially for those you'll never see.
This is my recap on how enlightening the Free Minds Free People Conference was in the spirit of love and healing. The following is an awakening of pure human interaction that you can't experience at the office. At the Free Minds Free People conference in Baltimore, some real life magic took place. The opening was done by a brilliant man by the name of Shawn Ginwright (accompanied by a panel of young people) who spoke on the problems America is facing today. From oppression to radical healing, the audience was definitely in sync. People from the audience got up to ask questions, some cried, some shared stories to connect, and other members of the panel shared stories that touched everyone. The audience was very diverse which made this moment of unison more powerful.
After the opening was complete and the tears were dried, a feeling seeped in. It was almost as if something ancient stirring inside of us opened our eyes and we saw each other's soul, not the avatar it resides in. Not long after it was finally time for workshops. I, being extremely intrigued by Shawn’s insight on radical healing, went to the Radical Healing workshop. Now to paint a picture of what RAD Healing truly is, I would say, Radical Healing is nuanced because everybody has a different struggle as well as different wounds that require different methods of recovery. Radical Healing is a concept made up of 5 Principles.
I am enrolled in college and don’t really have a specific project I’m working on at the moment but I do look forward to seeing what the campus has to offer in terms of being a researcher and youth activist.
Some of the most important lessons I learned during the summer was teamwork. We were all extremely new to the process of being researchers, facilitators, note takers, and coders but we knew that we had a goal we had to reach so everyone tried their best and did was the in the best interest of our overall goal not personal preferences.
My favorite part was in the morning walking in and seeing everybody energy each and every day to work harder and the willingness to improve it helped everyone get tasks done.
The summer program strengthened me by making me a proper time manager and taught me how to get humongous acts done in short period of times which is extremely helpful in college.
In the future I plan on working with the institute again to help our outreach get to as far as it possibly can and raise awareness everywhere we can.
The advice I would give new researchers or new members of the team would be to work hard. They can do it or else they wouldn’t have been chosen. Sarah and team are really good at picking people for the job so if they picked you that mean you have what it takes so don’t undercut yourself and let them help you reach your true potential.
And to end, I would just like to say Sarah is the best boss ever and the skills I learned from her, Jen, and Lisa are skills I can use in any aspect of my life at any time that will help me hopefully stand out when working.
The beginning of college was the beginning of a new stage in my life. All of a sudden, I didn’t have classes from 8-3 with homework due on a daily basis. College in comparison to high school was freedom. However, that mindset will not successful get you through college. The freedom college gives you is comes with responsibilities. The freedom of having a class one or twice a week requires you to remember assignments and deadlines because your teacher is not obligated to remind you- especially if you’re a working student.
In order to balance work and school, it is important to take on only as much as you physically and mentally can. College is a journey and work should aide you along that journey. Therefore, look for jobs or internships that relate directly or indirectly to your major and/or intended career path. Maintaining a schedule is also important, schedules allow you to keep track of your assignments, work shifts and social life. A well maintained schedule allows you to know when you are taking on too many responsibilities and keeps you and everything around you organized. As a college freshman, I am still learning how to balance school and my extracurricular, but as long as my goal is to graduate in four years with my bachelors and a high GPA, I believe everything will balance out in the end.
- Monica M.
Hi! My name is Heaven Fernandez and I was born & proudly raised in the big apple!
Becoming a part of ICI was completely unexpected. Around the age of 18, when I still attended high school, one of my counselors introduced me to these focus groups based on how we, the people, can make the community a better place. Once I heard that I said "I’m interested!” with no hesitation. Helping our people, the youth , and our community is always something that I’ve been interested in doing.
During the last focus group I attended, I met a wonderful woman named Jennifer Tang. We had a great conversation. I wrote my name down on a piece of paper hoping to follow up on a job opportunity & Jennifer reached out to me. I was invited to join the Intergenerational Change Initiative. Once I joined ICI, we quickly started to prepare for an important meeting with representatives from ACS & the DOE. We were a bit nervous about it at first but we devised a plan. Our team split into groups & got straight to work!
This meeting meant a lot to us. This was our way of expressing the youth's perspective and how such agencies can improve. We know our research can help address some of the challenges.
The meeting went swell! The agency’s professionals took everything we spoke about into consideration. But our job doesn't stop now. Were still grinding! We’re still going to help our communities as much as we can!
- Heaven F
The Benefits of Reflection and Feedback in Research