From Grayson Carr and Alyssa Kruzel, former NYLC Promise Fellows.
With gratitude and sadness, our AmeriCorps term of service with the National Youth Leadership Council has come to an end. It has been a bittersweet parting to be sure, but we are leaving on a high note; after weeks of preparation for the week-long National Youth Leadership Training, the training itself, and then the massive amount of reflecting we have done afterward, we are closer to the NYLC team and the work than we have ever been. While we start on new adventures in partnership with young people, we will find ways to continue working with NYLC staff and Youth Advisory Council, and now Lead Activists — all of whom, to the highest degree, are pulled by the need to improve the world with young people, who take the work seriously but never take themselves too seriously. We hope our future teams are the same. As we look back over the last 10 months, here are some highlights:
National Service-Learning Conference: While we heard so much about the Conference, we were caught up in the preparation and details, Alyssa with coordinating plans for the Youth Advisory Council throughout the week, and Grayson with the preconference training for Qatar Foundation International, then Capitol Hill Day, and staff support. We had never been to a youth-centered conference where the attendees and presenters were 50/50 youth-adult.
Service-learning: It has been nothing short of empowering to work toward a world where young students are supported and expected to affect their communities, for critical consciousness and action to not only be part of the curriculum but also for the action to be made possible — and improved by — academics, and consequently for academics to be anything but disconnected from the world. Service-learning is a successful approach for young people to create change in their salient surroundings, and when implemented at every level of a school it turns the school into a strong site of community power.
There have been challenges of course, as in every job, but having a supportive team that is willing and able to listen, adapt, and hold tough conversations has raised the bar for whatever comes next.
Alyssa Kruzel will be working as a Youth Program Coordinator for the University of Minnesota Extensions 4-H youth development programs.
Grayson Carr will be serving another year as a Promise Fellow developing education partnerships between the Minnesota Alliance With Youth and the Minnesota Department of Education.
They both hope to continue working with NYLC through partnerships in their new positions.
You can have transformative experiences like Grayson’s and Alyssa’s, too! We are currently seeking two Promise Fellows to work directly with our Youth Programs Team. Learn more and apply.