I was, admittedly, a little awkward in 7th grade (it was middle school, after all!) But I distinctly remember a point when things started to shift for me.
I joined the soccer team, which gave me a newfound confidence in myself. Through sports, I felt more like “me” every day. I even had the opportunity to spend the summer after my 8th-grade year playing soccer in Germany and Denmark—an experience I hold near and dear.
In many ways, the time I spent as a student athlete shaped my trajectory. Soccer gave me a strong sense of discipline and drive that made me a better student, and, quite frankly, helped me stay focused through college. So, I started my career with an interest in making an impact on youth development, particularly for young people in underserved communities.
For KIPP students, maybe it’s art, robotics, music, or writing that will be to them what soccer was to me. Whatever the case, I’m proud to be part of a team that helps garner resources for students to explore these paths.
My position as Senior Manager of Institutional Giving is all about raising funds to support students’ success—from the Opportunity Fund, which helps ensure students have the technology they need to learn from home during COVID-19 school closures. Or, the funds we raise for KIPP Forward, which gives KIPP alumni in college critical supports and guidance. This work is about ensuring our students are supported academically, and that they can pursue passions that build character, ambition, and perseverance.
Part of KIPP’s mission is creating schools that prepare students with the skills and confidence to pursue the paths they choose. I hope that any other self-proclaimed awkward 7th graders, and all KIPP students, know that they can create the future they want for themselves. I’m happy to play a small part in making that possible.