For more than two decades, the Senior Project Program has allowed Allendale Columbia seniors to explore potential careers, participate in community service, and indulge their curiosity in constructive ways.n These three-week off-campus experiences take place in professional environments and are expected to occupy at least the equivalent of the regular school day. At the conclusion, students must prepare and deliver a ten minute presentation to a Review Board of professionals from the AC community. On June 5th, three members of the Class of 2019 presented on their experiences.
Raheema Muhammad had already developed an interest in pursuing a career in public health, public policy, and international development when she began her work at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center, and this experience has only reinforced that direction. While there, she sent out letters for free mammograms and conducted walking outreach to inform target neighborhoods of the free services. She helped sort donated medications, separating those that could be used and destroying those that had expired, and she helped collect and distribute bread donated from Panera Bread. “Little things do count,” she said. An Americorps volunteer she met helped get her excited about college, and “helped me to see that I can relate to people, that people will want to talk with me,” boosting her confidence. The biggest challenge was the emotional toll it takes hearing people’s stories. She’s learned not to take anything for granted, as people’s circumstances can change in a moment. “I will always want to go back,” she commented. “I want to make a difference.” She will study at the University at Buffalo next year.
Makayla Cappon chose to intern at the Monroe County Family Court at the Hall of Justice, working with AC alumna Judge Stacey M. Romeo ’87 and her Law Clerk Angela Szewczyk. Makayla learned about surprising number of different kinds of attorneys. She had the opportunity to see and review different types of court cases, and worked with the “Youth Part” of Family Court to support “Raise the Age” legislation intended to try and house offenders younger than 18 separately from older and more serious offenders, giving them a chance to keep an indelible stain off their record for an unfortunate indiscretion. She was challenged by the number and severity of neglect and abuse cases, though her favorite case was her first one, a success story, and all of the many other successes she saw that helped improve people’s lives. Makayla plans to attend law school after her undergraduate studies at Hartwick College, work with a Legal Aid Society, and advance in the ranks from law clerk to judge.
Nicole Filipi interned with No One Left Behind, a nonprofit organization founded by AC alumnus Matt Zeller ‘00 and his Afghan interpreter Janis Shinwari to help America’s wartime allies from Iraq and Afghanistan obtain Special Immigrant Visas and move safely with their families to the United States, get jobs, and live productive lives. Ellen Smith runs the local chapter, which has helped 96 families in Rochester since March 2014. Starting on Day 1, Nicole worked on intake. She helped to sort donations of household goods and to stage apartments with linens, kitchen supplies, and other necessities. Nicole also helped with “Lost in Translation” applications that help these allies get visas, soliciting letters of advocacy, and screening a spreadsheet of applications for disqualifications. Her favorite part of the experience was visiting families and seeing how No One Left Behind was able to help them as they started their lives in the U.S. Nicole plans to attend St. John Fisher College as a Legal Studies major.
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Highlights, Partnerships, Twelfth Grade, Upper School