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
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I was particularly honored to participate in a rally, which was organized through the conference. One of our young people, Nupol Kiazolu,, who is deeply connected to the Black Lives Matter movement in New York City, provided the opening speech. Her powerful voice cried for unity, and equity. She prompted the crowd to join hands, and to fight for justice. In that moment I felt truly inspired and hopeful that together, we can create a better, more just world.
- Tyler M.
Our trip to the Free Minds Free People conference in Baltimore was an opportunity for our team to get to know each other better and have fun together while learning valuable skills. We started the day learning and practicing using the different types of research in preparation for the focus groups we would conduct later, but instead of going home at the end of the day, we gathered our things and took a nice walk to the train station.
We boarded the bus to Baltimore. It was a long bus ride to Baltimore and we ate snacks and talked along the way. Once we arrived, we all took cabs to our hotel. It was very beautiful and extravagant! We all went to our respective hotel rooms to drop off our stuff and then explored the hotel in an attempt to find their pool.