Today I'm taking it waaaay back and celebrating afterschool professionals I've worked with over the years!
I've been fortunate to work with, alongside, to hire and be hired by the best of the best in this field called #youthwork. There's no way to list everyone here, but I'm going to try to feature a few folks (in no particular order!) that I'd like to celebrate from my early years of this work!
Eric Gurna, Unique Brathwaite, Andrea Kamins, Ellen Pechman, Lissette Gomez, Sarah Hill, Alfonso Wyatt, Susanne Sillett, Sam Piha, Brenda McLaughlin, Sarah Pitcock, Sarah Hill (not a duplicate, another person :), Kiran Gaudioso, Dara Rose, Steve Larosilier, Michele Luc, Sam Quiah, Belinda Bassafero, Michael Cirelli, Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Ellen O'Conell, Maura Minsky, Kristen Joyner, Nate Dudley, David Odegaard, Rodney Ellis, Janice Williams, Jennifer Brady, Dan Doyle, Clair A. Simon, Anthony Gonzalez, Tryon Woods, Davon Russel, Mitzi Sinnott, Yvonne M. Brathwaite, Jimena Quiroga Hopkins, Fred McIntosh, Charissa Fernandez, Helen Barahal, Lucy Friedman, Ellen Ganet...
My Philly Youth Development Colleagues, this month makes 10 years since I moved to Philly and you've all been an important part of this decade, so many of you get a special shout-out, too!
First, I'd like to feature Adela Rivera Rodriquez. Adela is what I would call an 'un-sung hero' in afterschool. She is a true advocate for children, a confidant for parents and caregivers and a supportive and caring supervisor. She can do it all, enter attendance, create a lesson plan, design a culminating event and HAS been doing it for over two decades. She is currently the Cultural Enrichment Program Manager Taller Puertorriqueño. This is what calls her to this work:
"Teaching was my first passion going back to elementary school. As a kid, I first became intrigued with the profession because of the love, care and understanding I received from my teachers. In appreciation of my experience, it has become my mission for my students to feel connected not only with me, but with each other, and their community. I find that when students are given an opportunity to lead and have their voices heard there is no greater connection. Today, work with young people has become FUN with young people. How lucky can one be that every day is full of children's endless energy, honesty, curiosity, and creativity?"
You may be surprised to know that Adela was a coach for an all girls softball team. Her students are often surprised that she will play any kind of sport with them especially, handball. She especially likes that they want her on their team when they're choosing team members.
Also Celebrating: Jen Brevoort, Folasshade Laud-Hammond, Reggie Jones, Jack Drummond, Michele Martin, Lina Cedeno,Gabriela Sanchez, Michael Imperato, Justine Philyaw, Mabel Negrete, Michael O'bryan, Melissa Kim, Stephanie Michele, Janine Wright, Noelle Warford, Lisa Varon, Namoi Roberson Reid, Antonio Romero, Jenee Chizick, Indira Lawson, Christel Aviles, Britt Campese, Sandra Andino, Temwa Wright, Sarah Hollister, Tara Mullen, Ellen Hwang, Saul Zayas, Thao Tran, Justine Haemmerli, Andrea Walls, Jennie Shanker, Alia Hatch, Sannii Crespina-Flores, Angela Jubinville, Darren Spielman, Jenni Bogoni, Maria Walker, Coach Cassandra Lee, Mike Roberson Reid, Liz Pisarczyk, Camille Elliott, Carly Hickerson, Khalia Robinson, Rachel Loeper, Rosetta Davis, Catie Woolfgang, Sandra Andino, Nancy Peter, Phillip Hammond, Iesha Nelson, James Burkes, Billy Eisenberg, Dan Rhoton, Bunmi Samuel, Melissa A. Rowe, Andrea DiMola, Anthony Singleton, Kasey Thompson, Pete Watkins, Bilal Taylor, Cheryl Oakman, James Owk, Malik Gray, Chanell Bates Walker, Carlos Alvarez, Jill Helme, Randall Simms, Michelle Fagan, Dona Gonzalez....
I know that I've missed many folks! I didn't even list the over 350 students I taught at the Community College of Philadelphia who are on their way to becoming youth development professionals and a part of a talented #workforce here in Philly. My apologies if your name didn't make this list.
Lists don't really matter, the work does! Please know that I value the work of the THOUSANDS of Youth Development Professionals here in Philly that I've had the good fortune to learn from and be inspired by.