As a way to promote the incredible work our Host Organizations are doing and to spread the word of the substantial impact Atlas Corps Fellows has on their teams, we are sharing a short feature on Teen Empowerment and its experience with Atlas Corps, and its Fellow, Patience Andrew (Nigeria, Class 33).

Host Organization: Center for Teen Empowerment

The Center for Teen Empowerment helps low-income, urban youth hone their understanding of the social problems they face and use their talents and skills to create change in their own lives and in their communities. TE employs youth ages 14 to 21 as the leaders of social change initiatives that positively influence the values and behaviors of their peers with the goal of lowering crime, violence, and self-destructive behaviors. Youth-led initiatives engage thousands of youth and adults in community improvement efforts each year.

Fellow: Patience Andrew (Nigeria, Class 33)

At Atlas Corps, we have a tradition of stating our “Five Facts” when introducing ourselves to new people. What are your five facts?

Name: Patience Finye Andrew

Hometown: Jos, Nigeria

Role at Organization: Program Coordinator Fellow

Social Issue/Interest Area: Youth Development

Fun fact: I write and perform poetry

What is your role at your Host Organization?

I am serving as Program Coordinator Fellow at the Center for Teen Empowerment. I facilitate daily group sessions alongside other adult Program Coordinators by supporting the youth in our program organize small and large scale community events on issues youth face in Boston.

How has your experience with your Host Organization impacted your perspective? What has the organization taught you?

My perspective on youth leadership and development has had a remarkable shift serving at the Center for Teen Empowerment. The Teen Empowerment’s model of youth development is one that highlights the power of youth voice not just as beneficiaries but as the major stakeholders in the advocacy for social change in their communities.
The experience of being in group weekly and interacting with teenagers has been a journey of learning through action-driven conversations. Seeing how youth are able to recognize the power in their voice and utilize that power towards social change in their communities has broadened my scope to the vast possibility of youth-driven sustainable change in my home country Nigeria.

How has your experience with your supervisor impacted your perspective? What has your supervisor taught you?

Working closely with my supervisors Jaquell, I have had no choice than to be a critical thinker. She brings unique ideas and perspectives especially at difficult times and her ability to critically assess and solve challenges has been empowering to me and the programs team. My other supervisor Sheri is service driven and inclusive in her style of leadership and her unique diplomatic style creates both a safe space and a productive work environment. Both Jaquell and Sheri’s lessons will help me professionally in thinking critically through challenges and in being an effective team player.

How will you build upon the skills and knowledge gained during your Fellowship once you return to your home country? How will your experience in the United States help you pursue your goals in the future?

The Atlas Corps Fellowship and my time in the U.S has sparked in me the desire to amplify youth voice in ways we’ve ignored in my home country. I intend to put all lessons learned to good use by empowering youth in Nigeria, and more so importantly by being partners with young people in this work of youth development.

Fellow Supervisor: Jaquell Sneed-Adams

At Atlas Corps, we have a tradition of stating our “Five Facts” when introducing ourselves to new people. What are your five facts?

Name: Jaquell Sneed-Adams

Hometown: Henderson, North Carolina

Role at Organization: Boston Program Director

Social Issue/Interest Area: Education and Youth Development

Fun fact: I am a Ravenclaw, with Gryffindor tendencies. My second fun fact is that I was a college cheerleader.

Why did you decide to host an Atlas Corps Fellow?
At the time, we were in a general adult hiring process and when we were made aware of Atlas Corps, it presented an incredible opportunity to introduce a new perspective and experience to our team.

Why did you choose your Fellow?

We ended up choosing Patience for a number of reasons: her connection to and passion for the arts, her interest and experience in media (which we are trying to expand at TE),and, mostly, the fact that her energy and passion could be felt through a screen (even with the horrible connection that we had on our interview call).

How has your Fellow contributed to your team? How has his or her presence had an impact on your team’s dynamic?

Patience is loved by everyone on the team. A sometimes quiet leader, Patience doesn’t always have the loudest voice in the room (only when she’s reciting poetry), but she listens, learns, and asks the types of questions that moved our work forward. Also, when she does speak up, it is always insightful and meaningful. She has filled in gaps when needed and also carved her own space. We are really going to miss her.

How will your Fellow’s contributions and insights impact your organization in the long run?

There are a number of ways that Patience has left an impact on our organization. One way in particular, that has happened quite recently, was her work around building a foundation for our future alumni engagement work. She researched successful strategies and systems and came up with ideas for how we can continue building this engagement well after she’s back home in Nigeria. In the nature of our work, people and movement building are essential. So, her work on our alumni engagement will certainly have a large and long-lasting impact.

What has your Fellow taught you? Have you learned anything special about their culture?

Something that Patience has taught, or maybe more so reinvigorated within me, is the importance of reflection. Whenever I speak with her, I am challenged to think deeply about the details, the impact, and the purpose of what we’re doing. Patience and I have spoken about culture quite often. From conversations about racial and religious interactions here in America and in Nigeria to types of food, to even working culture differences between America and Nigeria, it is always a learning experience.

My favorite memory of Patience (well, one of many): We put on an annual “Peace Conference” in the spring and a large part of it consists of a play that our adult staff supports our youth staff in writing and performing. One day, in preparing the theatre group, we were doing short skits. It was the most animated and humorous that I had seen Patience with the youth at that time and it really started to feel like she was part of the team.

More about Atlas Corps

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 750 professionals from 95 countries who have served at 300 organizations.

Interested in becoming a Host Organization for an Atlas Corps Fellow? Fill out Host Interest Form.