As the staff member with the least regular personal contact with students and families, I wasn’t sure whether, from my bird’s eye view, I would really see the impact of my own work. I came to DTS not as an educator, but as an attorney who liked to build and better businesses and organizations, and with a passion for advocating for children. I deeply believed not just in the mission of DTS, but in the holistic direction that Mimi was taking the program and the professionals who were implementing it. It didn’t take long for DTS “aha” moments to start surfacing. I love being a conduit between DTS and the outside world – sharing the philosophy, relaying student achievements, contextualizing the day-to-day activities, and illustrating the depth, breadth and impact of our programming.
Deepening people’s understanding of the challenges facing determined, yet grossly underserved, students and how our program addresses those challenges is my daily goal. Through our newsletters, site visits, and grant applications, I’m able to create connections and partnerships that help ensure that DTS remains accessible to students who need us, but it’s the ripple effect of our succeeding students to the community at large that shows me that DTS truly is a catalyst for systemic positive change.
Luckily, I also get some quality time with the students every once in a while. While at a DTS event or proctoring the occasional after school study hall, I am always greeted with hugs and smiles. If I can get away with it, I’ll shoot the breeze with Pearl*. She’s probably procrastinating doing her homework, but I like to believe she feels connected to someone who cares deeply about her future and marvels at how far she’s already come.
* Students’ names have been changed in the interest of privacy.