Summer@Brown Financial Partnership
From the Leadership Institute Symposium on Social Change
Author: Emily Westgate
I created my action plan in hopes that it would benefit my inner city community of New Bedford, including my school (Global Learning Charter Public School) and the students within it. My action plan was to create a partnership between GLCPS and Brown University, allowing students from GLCPS to participate in the Summer at Brown program, without the financial burden. This partnership would allow students to experience life at a prestigious university while taking classes with excellent teachers and with students who come from a variety of lifestyles and cultures. Students from GLCPS would be taking part in changing the world for the better, by taking leadership classes that attracted them, and equipped them with tools to create a positive change. The partnership would then influence the inner city by showing the community members that the students of New Bedford can be a part of change, and have an influence in the world. The partnership would create a hope for families of New Bedford that our students will find a movement that inspires them and leads them to continue their education.
In my action plan, I am targeting two key problems that New Bedford critically faces; finances and education. I am using education though, through the Summer at Brown programs, to excite students about new educational experiences. I am also strategically using the partnership with Brown, as a way to undercut the financial aspect of this opportunity for GLCPS students. The partnership has been the biggest part of my strategy, along with GLCPS, because both parties pay half of the expenses. All aspects of the partnership were created to allow students of GLCPS to partake in a once and a lifetime opportunity at Brown University.
Since I attended Summer at Brown in July 2010, my action plan has greatly advanced. I was successful in creating meetings between the administrators at GLCPS and Summer at Brown. Those meetings then led to presentations to the Board of Trustees at GLCPS and an approval of the partnership on both ends. After the finalization of the partnership, I began talking to students who I thought would be interested. I then met with a junior at GLCPS, who I worked with on the application for the program. She was accepted and is now choosing the class that she feels she will be most interested in.
My action plan has proven success so far, but I haven’t been alone in the process. There are many members who worked with me and continue to help me along with this project. In the beginning, Dean Robin Rose was a key influence of my action plan. She suggested the partnership and with her help we have been able to make it a reality. The administrative staff at my school, including Principal Marsh, Executive Director Steve Furtado and all the members of the Board of Trustees, assisted in the building of the partnership. Together, we have created an opportunity for another student of GLCPS to attend Summer at Brown where she will soon be creating her own action plan to create change.
My action plan has served as an eye opener to me; I have seen that my hard work and dedication has resulted in creating a chance for another student to experience what I did in the Leadership Institute. It has been exciting and fulfilling after the continuous work throughout the school year. My action plan has strengthened my commitment to my school community as well as the community of New Bedford. It has driven me to encourage the underclassmen at GLCPS to begin looking into summer enrichment programs as well as universities they hope to attend after high school. My action plan has left me with satisfaction, knowing that when I leave for college in the Fall, students of GLCPS will still be involved in the Summer at Brown and will have a chance to create their own change for themselves and their community.
The partnership has had a deep impact on my school and community and even my family. The staff and students of GLCPS are excited to know that our students can attend a prestigious university for a summer program, without having to pay for it because it wouldn’t be possible. The students feel that they matter and their continuance of education is important enough that our school has taken the responsibility of paying for a summer program that will lead them in a positive direction. My family is proud of me, for creating a partnership between Brown and GLCPS, and is excited that I have such an accomplishment as I prepare for college. I think the biggest effect will express itself every year when the student who attends Summer at Brown returns to GLCPS and shares their action plan, whether it involves our community or another one.
The partnership has taken a lot of time and persistence to finalize, and at times I found it hard to stay motivated. I have to say that my mom was really a motivation throughout the year, as well as Dr. Furtado. My mom continued to push me and ask questions about the action plan, and when she saw that I was lacking focus, she reminded me of the amazing experience that I had, and how important it was that others from New Bedford be able experience that too. Dr. Furtado served as a motivator by always checking in on the partnership, updating me on the questions and decisions of the board and pushing me and the guidance counselor to educate students about the programs that would be available to them. I would also like to mention that the emails I received throughout the year about the Leadership Institute new classes, and new additional Summer at Brown programs, frequently reminded me to work on my action plan and check in on the progress of the partnership.
In November 2010, I attended the Leadership Institute Symposium on Social Action, and it once again sparked my interest and inspired me to continue my action plan. The Symposium was a great and fun continuation of the summer program. I was able to catch up with my friends from the summer, and be refreshed with information and techniques that I needed for my action plan. The classes that I took and the groups that we were placed in based on the subject of our action plans were excellent. The smaller groups allowed us to share our successes and our struggles. We were able to share our thoughts and opinions and help problem solve together. The classes on meeting with administrators and fundraising I thought were great to assist me in ways that I was struggling with. The symposium was a great weekend that came at just the right time to continuing guiding us as we tried to make our action plans successful.