Afterschool programs have played an important role in my success and growth through the years. In elementary school, Extended Day nurtured my love of reading and in middle school, the tutoring I received at the YWCA helped me win an honorable mention at the seventh grade science fair. In high school, the staff at the Wade Edwards Learning Lab (WELL) allowed me to help with grant proposals and event planning, which developed my fundraising and programming skills. I started visiting the WELL because I needed to be somewhere safe and productive after school until my mother got home from work. I began as a WELL student and then progressed to being a volunteer and then a staff member, eventually taking a position as the assistant to the Executive Director of the Wade Edwards Foundation. I learned a lot about myself during this time.
As a result of my work at the WELL and the Foundation, I became a candidate for the North Carolina Center for After school Programs (NC CAP) 2005 After School Alumni Award and was honored alongside my peers from across the state.
Picking a major in college was difficult for me and the WELL once again helped me move forward. One of the Directors there suggested that I major in social work. After researching the field, I knew it was perfect. In May of 2008, I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a Bachelor of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts in Woman and Gender Studies. I am particularly interested in community programs and nonprofit organizations. I am now pursuing a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management and hope to earn a master's degree in Gender and Community Leadership, so that I may go on to work with programs similar to those that enriched my life. Afterschool programs make it possible for young people to explore their interests and possibilities for the future. I know they did that for me.