As a way to spread word of the substantial impact Atlas Corps Fellows have on our Host Organizations, we are sharing a short feature of DC SCORES and their experience with Atlas Corps.

Host Organization: DC SCORES
DC SCORES goes where kids in need are and creates neighborhood teams that give kids the confidence and skills to succeed on the playing field, in the classroom, and in life.

Atlas Corps Fellow: Olga Kuzmina (Russia, Class 24)
Originally from Vladivostok, Russia, Olga has a Master’s degree in Political Science from Central European University in Hungary. Through her experience as the International Projects Manager of Dalexpocenter Company, and the Projects Coordinator and President of Model United Nations of the Russian Far East, Olga has developed strong project management, youth leadership development, and communication skills. She is passionate about civil society building, education, and youth empowerment.

Olga’s View on Serving DC SCORES:
“My Fellowship with DC SCORES will serve as a foundation for my further professional development in Russia or anywhere else in the world. This experience has taught me that you don’t know what you’re capable of until you are placed in a supportive and highly efficient team who trust you. That it is possible to operate a leading nonprofit in the sphere of youth development with a team of 12 people. That thinking outside of the box should be in everyone’s toolkit.”

Supervisor: Tony Francavilla (Director of Individual Gifts & Corporate Partnerships, DC SCORES)

1) At Atlas Corps, we have a tradition of stating our five facts when introducing ourselves to new people. Please state the following facts:

Name: Tony Francavilla
Hometown: Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Role at Organization: Director of Individual Gifts & Corporate Partnerships
Social Issue: Youth Development
Fun fact: My dog Dexter is a sophisticated cuddle robot sent from the future to change the lives of everyone he meets.

2) Why did you decide to host an Atlas Corps Fellow?

We aren’t the kind of organization that turns down top talent! While I’ve never applied for an Atlas Corps Fellowship, from what I’ve seen of the types of Fellows they recruit and the jam-packed program they commit to, the vast majority are equally up to and eager for the challenge of a start-up atmosphere. I think the Fellows also bring with them their own supportive network of current and former Fellows, and any small, lean organization can appreciate access to eager, competent extra hands.

3) Why did you select Olga to join your team?

Olga had a very impressive resume and we were especially impressed by how well she interviewed. While Skype connections can be notoriously bad, her passion and immense competence came through nonetheless, and she also seemed very excited about our work. We certainly haven’t been disappointed!

4) How has Olga contributed to your team? Has her presence had an impact on your team’s dynamic?

It’s hard to believe she’s only been here for two months. Olga has led groups of Atlas Corps Fellows as volunteers at two different DC SCORES events already—a testament to her own leadership but also to the service orientation of Atlas Corps Fellows. She’s already earned the trust and confidence of colleagues in every department. Our Grants Manager trusts her with proposals to repeat funders, our Program Staff trusts her with our poet-athletes, and I’ve already seen her inherit, own, and advance a major outreach project with huge potential for our organization.

5) How will Olga’s contributions and insights impact DC SCORES in the long run?

For 23 years we’ve had a hypothesis: our mission, our model, and our footprint in this city could be extremely attractive to the diplomatic community. With that said, the embassies and missions based here could be a major source of volunteers, sponsorships, and individual donors. While we’ve never had the capacity to fully explore this opportunity, Olga has hit the ground running. In her short time here, she has already pitched DC SCORES to high-level diplomats and support staff from major European, African, and South American countries.

6) What has your experience with Olga taught you?

Russia has been all over the news recently, and not for great reasons. Olga is a constant reminder of the importance of separating government from people, and that’s an especially important lesson for everyone these days.

Atlas Corps partners with mission-driven organizations (nonprofit, private, and government) to facilitate a professional exchange program for the world’s best emerging social change leaders to live and serve in the United States for a 12-month Fellowship. The Atlas Corps network currently includes more than 600 professionals from 87 countries who have served at 220 organizations. Atlas Corps Host Organization, DC SCORES, has hosted two Atlas Corps Fellows.

Interested in becoming a Host Organization for an Atlas Corps Fellow? Contact Nicole Banister at nicole@atlascorps.org.

 

Compiled by Meredith Tibbals.

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