Hello! We are Ella and Arya and we are juniors at Nightingale and Young Leaders this year. Arya was a Sweet Reader in seventh grade and this is her first year as a Young Leader. Ella has been a Sweet Reader since fifth grade and a Young Leader since freshman year. We have an incredible opportunity this year because we are able to work on bridging communities in such polarizing and isolating times. It’s truly inspiring for us as Young Leaders to be able to create communities and relationships that will have lasting effects. Even with COVID, we have been able to prevail with our goal to create successful communities for everyone. We are focusing this year on creating communities with access for everyone no matter their location, language barriers, or socio-economic class. This year, we have and will continue to put special emphasis on reaching out to a wider variety of people.
The beautiful thing about bridging two communities is that we can develop curriculums that inspire participants, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances, to discover and celebrate their common ground.
For our program, we are delighted to have engaged the Sisulu-Walker Charter School in Harlem. Ella’s grandma used to teach there and was passionate about those kids, so it feels extra special to be participating in this way. We are now reaching out to eldercare centers in the neighborhood and helping them to overcome the technology challenges. It can be a daunting prospect, so we work together and reach out to friends and family and you can help too – as we are determined to reach some of the most isolated adults in need. Do you know of an eldercare center in upper Manhattan that would benefit from engaging with Sweet Readers? Bridging communities takes a village and we are determined to succeed!
After both communities have been confirmed, we will get to work customizing our curriculum to best serve all of the participants. Some of the other teams of Young Leaders are working with dance professionals, artists, poets, etc. Developing curriculums is exciting and we receive training from Sweet Readers – our next immersive training will be in January. This is another way you can participate! Are you involved in the arts? Would you like to join us? Because we would be happy to connect you to one of the Leadership Council teams! Just email firstname.lastname@example.org – your participation is greatly appreciated!
We have developed an exciting new curriculum – it’s really a tool to make it fun for participants to discover each other – centered around games. Games have always been a way to bring people together and a source of joy, stimulation and companionship.
Being able to create a new bridged community and having like-minded teenagers from around the globe working on the same mission is truly inspiring. We are also incredibly excited for the future of Sweet Readers, and this is just one of many communities that will have a profound impact in our world. It’s important to spotlight the adults and students in these programs as they bring an energy and empathy to every session.
We plan to share their stories with you next term, as our programs come to life! We hope that these students will become Young Leaders and that they carry this mission in their futures. Every session, game, and conversation is proof that bridging communities and creating relationships and memories that transcend the program, indeed, participation – matters.