Pablo Sasso ’14 is thrilled to be a Field School Fellow for a second time this summer. He is working with the Young Scholars Liberty Partnerships Program (YSLPP) at Utica College, a collaborative partnership between the college and Utica City School District designed to motivate students from underprivileged social and economic backgrounds to stay in school, receive their high school diploma, and pursue higher education. The Young Scholars Program was founded in 1993 to respond to the lack of minority students graduating from T.R. Proctor High School. It offers academic, social, and cultural enrichment for promising 7th-12th graders, ensuring, in Pablo’s words, that “these kids have a support system through their formative years.” Pablo’s projects aim to continue fostering that support system beyond graduation through the development of a comprehensive alumni network via various social media platforms.
In the first month of his fellowship, Pablo has been laying the groundwork for the development of Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and is preparing to create a website for the program’s 900+ alumni. He recently launched the Facebook page and is excited that there are already over 100 members of the group who are commenting and interacting with one another. Pablo hopes to have the LinkedIn group established by the end of this week and will work on the website for the remainder of his fellowship. Recognizing the importance of institutional memory for staff members and future interns, he is also creating detailed how-to guides for each of these sites. Pablo envisions these projects not only creating a potential donor base, but also “a more connected relationship between the program and the students that they help succeed.”
Pablo has also been providing support to Young Scholars’ three “highly committed” staff members who have been busily preparing for their summer program that began this Monday. Pablo sees the long-term value of behind-the-scenes tasks like filing paperwork, making phone calls, and digitizing graduates’ contact information to materializing Young Scholars’ mission and vision. He says, “Making a difference, as I’ve learned, does not need to be done on a big scale. If you can do one helpful thing each time you step into the office, then you’ve made a difference in someone’s quality of life whether you think it or not.” Pablo also enjoys working directly with students in the Young Scholars Program and will participate in July’s session.
Pablo cherished his experience working with Pathfinder Village in 2012 and knew another summer with the Upstate Institute would “help further my interests in non-profits.” He appreciates the independent, creative license he has been given with his projects at Young Scholars and feels that “the confidence placed in my decision making is great for learning what goes right and wrong in the planning process for any project.” Pablo believes that Upstate New York “has a lot to offer to people with obstacles, whether they are physical, emotional, or social,” and feels gratified every time he sees a smile on the face of someone he has supported. His enthusiasm for the Upstate region and Young Scholars will surely carry him and the organization far this summer and beyond!