I’m writing this post in a moment of pure joy and sense of accomplishment. Why? Because I have so much to be celebrating!
- I’ve recruited an AMAZING board for #NYCEDU. Not only are they incredibly talented, thoughtful, and values-aligned, they’re ALL IN on co-creating and co-owning #NYCEDU’s next steps. At our kick-off meeting, for example, they were like “We want you to let go of that role as soon as possible. We’ve got you.” Full announcement of who’s on our board to come. Make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter at bit.ly/nyceducontact to get the latest.
- Our online forum is looking fly. After a year of Rachel Kate Miller, Brad Whitwell, Sean Perkins and I working on it, we officially launched our forum this summer. Over 70 people co-designed this forum with us! There’s further to go, especially because we’re on a rebranding journey that will include a new name and visual identity, but it’s a great start. I’m proud of how intentional we were about choosing our platform and about its potential to become a collaborative space that brings the whole city together around youth-led collective impact.
- #NYCEDU is growing up. For two and a half years, I’ve been the driving force behind a lot of the work, from being lead organizer of all the events to being the independent contractor on projects like WeIntervene’s 4th Annual Celebration of School Counselors and NYCx by the NYC Mayor’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer. Now though, I’m spending my time working on our infrastructure so that #NYCEDU can expand out from what I personally do to what our team and soon, our members and partners can do.
- I’m learning a ton. Sources of my favorite learnings include Streetsmart Financial Basics for Nonprofit Managers, Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability, The Activist Class Cultures Kit, Bridging the Class Divide: And Other Lessons for Grassroots Organizing, Reinventing Organizations, Many Voices One Song, a Sociocracy Manual, and more. As I continue to learn, I’ll be creating bite-sized resources in our forum’s Learning Library so check them out and give me feedback on how you’re using those resources!
- We’re gaining momentum as youth-led collective impact experts. We’re being invited to speak on panels, sought out for consulting, and invited to join as partners in grants. I am very grateful to the following organizations, especially, because our participation in their work has been instrumental in us getting to this place: IntegrateNYC, Teens Take Charge, Alliance for School Integration and Desegregation, Ravenswood Drug Free Coalition, South Bronx Rising Together, and Harlem Renaissance Education Pipeline.
Life is great on the personal side as well. One, my friends and significant other are the best. Two, my financial situation has improved as I’ve had to spend less money going to conferences and trainings to learn about collective impact and as I’ve gained consulting and coaching gigs. I’m also hopeful that as we shift to focusing on funding #NYCEDU, I’ll start transitioning out of these gigs and into a fully compensated role at #NYCEDU. Three, I’m continuing to grow as a cook. My favorite recipe from this past quarter? The best lemon cheesecake I’ve ever had, cooked at home in my pressure cooker. The runner-up is learning how to make scallion pancakes.
So what’s next? Well, lots! My goal by the end of 2019 will be to have filed all the paperwork and created all the structures necessary for #NYCEDU to have its independent 501(c)3 status, supported Rachel Kate Miller in selecting a new name (take the new name survey here), and made progress on supporting the board in setting our 2020 strategy. I also want to expand our partnerships circle while solidifying our relationships with our existing partners who have been so instrumental to #NYCEDU’s growth and development. On the personal side, I think my 2020 goal will be to dive into climate justice. I’m inspired to do this by the young people who have been leading the charge. I’ve got to do my part, too.