A group pf Fellows poses for a selfie!

How the Unique Benefits of the Fellowship Enhance Opportunities for both Fellows and Nonprofit Host Partners

The Fellowships are designed not only to support the development of young social impact leaders, but also to increase the capacity of their nonprofit host organizations.

Last year, Fellows really did "lead the change" by working to pass legislation, helping to create and expand key programs to better serve their communities, and growing host's partnership networks.

Here are just a few examples of their recent accomplishments:

Ryan at a ppdium in the statehouseRyan Telingator, FAO Schwarz Fellow ’23 at Jumpstart in Boston, collaborated with partners and advocated for legislation in Massachusetts that would increase educator compensation, provide direct-to-provider funding to stabilize programs, and increase the state’s financial assistance to families to help make programs more affordable. (see blog postwritten by Ryan). Recently, in collaboration with his supervisor, he successfully lobbied for Jumpstart to receive a “historic” $350,000 in the Massachusetts state budget, enabling them to expand their programming and impact throughout the state. 

His supervisor shared: “Even after a leadership transition at Jumpstart, Ryan continued to lead this effort, securing additional support for the budget amendment with an increased ask of $450,000. Ryan’s leadership within the Common Start Coalition, advocating for accessible and affordable early care and education (ECE), has also been instrumental. Despite initial setbacks in passing the Common Start bill, Ryan and the coalition remained committed to reintroducing it in this session, and their efforts have led to two bills aligned with the Common Start vision in the House and Senate. Ryan’s dedication to lobbying legislators and raising awareness about ECE has been impeccable. He currently holds a significant leadership position on the coalition’s steering committee.” 

Ryan has spoken at the State House for a briefing, provided policy resources to journalists and coalition members, met with Governor Healey’s staff, and contributed to a historical budget increase for ECE. 

Nia Atkins smiles for photoNia Atkins, FAO Schwarz Fellow ‘23 at Year Up in New York City, led the Year Up NY/NJ site’s Learning Community “Look Back, Look Ahead” meetings since August 2022. Her supervisor shared, “These meetings are key moments for the Year Up NY/NJ staff community to gather and reflect on the journey of our participants after a class has graduated from the program. Nia has done an excellent job of sifting through the key performance data of our cohorts such as retention, attrition rates, and job conversion data. The Look Back/Look Ahead report and meeting also supplies qualitative data about our participant’s experience throughout both their Learning and Development and Internship phases which gives staff a valuable snapshot of how our young people performed and felt while going through this journey with us.”

To execute these meetings and ensure valuable data was captured and analyzed, Nia collaborated closely with both the Program and Internship teams, and improved and streamlined the data visualization aspect to make the information more accessible. Additionally, Nia served as a coach to young adults in the program, mentoring participants through the program, and supporting them with interview preparation, resume improvement, public speaking, and presentation skills (see blog post written by Nia).

"The Fellowship exerience can be a truly transformative—not just for our Fellows, but also for our host partners"

Kira with Dinosaurs

Kira Azulay, FAO Schwarz Fellow ’23 at the Museum of Science in Boston, led two youth events as part of a new  High School Science Series program focused on the themes of mental health and climate justice. Kira was responsible for securing and hosting guest speakers, creating an educator guide for teachers, and coordinating logistics for on-site set-up and evaluation. At each event, there were about 200 high school students in attendance who were able to ask questions of the panelists and then participate in hands-on projects at the Museum. Kira reflected on her experience as an FAO Schwarz Fellow in this video. 

Kira has increased the Museum’s capacity to invest in youth development and intentionally think about their practices when engaging with young people. Her supervisor shared, “In Year 1 of her Fellowship, Kira researched and cataloged youth organizations in Massachusetts and other states to help us better understand how various organizations support youth through education and employment opportunities. She also curated a literature review related to working with youth which we hope to use as a resource for potentially forming a youth council in the future. In Year 2 of her Fellowship, Kira had the chance to develop and lead content and events for youth as part of our High School Series Program. Both events afforded Kira the opportunity to put youth engagement strategies to practice as she sought to find topics, speakers, and activities that would both interest and resonate with youth.”

Vanessa at The Food Project
Vanessa Barragán, FAO Schwarz Fellow ’24 at The Food Project in Boston, focuses in part on community engagement through their Build-A-Garden program, where they support Boston residents in growing their own food through the installation of raised garden beds (see blog post written by Vanessa). Her supervisor shared that Vanessa is “doing an incredible job managing the Build-a-Garden program.  Building on her work, The Food Project plans to double its impact, moving from 50 installations per year to 100 installations per year. ” 

Sophie and a colleague share information about Audubon Mid-Atlantic at a table.

Sophie Becker-Klein, FAO Schwarz Fellow ’24 at Audubon Mid-Atlantic in Philadelphia, has grown partnerships with schools in the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood where she is providing weekly lessons on environmental education (see blog post written by Sophie). Sophie’s supervisor wrote: “Sophie and I, through a series of meetings, developed a school-year schedule for her teaching Audubon lessons in class at our priority schools. These lessons included birds and bird migration, Healthy Watersheds and healthy Delaware River, bird adaptations, and Weather vs. Climate were specifically chosen by Sophie to encompass the full range and impact of Audubon. Sophie will be interacting with all grades in these schools. This is the first time Audubon Mid-Atlantic has had the resources to fully commit to multiple schools and this work could not be done without Sophie.”