i am ynpn boston--matt gelman.

Name:  Matt Gelman

Profession:  Youth Literacy Theater Program Coordinator

Organization: Hyde Square Task Force

Name:  Matt Gelman

Profession:  Youth Literacy Theater Program Coordinator

Organization: Hyde Square Task Force

Favorite Quotes: “I have learned to use the word impossible with the greatest caution.” Wernher von Braun, Rocket Scientist

Best Way to Relax After A Long Week: Drinks, good conversation, and dancing

Describe Your Professional Journey:

After graduating college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I knew that I wanted to work with people and I knew that I wanted work that was mission-driven. I had spent the past four years studying ethics and social justice in international relations and I wanted to make use of my skills and make an impact in the community. I saw a posting about an AmeriCorps position coordinating two mentoring programs with youth at the Hyde Square Task Force. After my first interview, I knew I wanted to work there. It felt like such a positive place and I could tell that the staff really cared about the youth they were working with.

The first year was an amazing experience. I spent my days (including many of my Saturdays) and nights working with teenagers around college preparation, and worked with local college students to mentor and inspire the youth as they began planning their own post-high school journeys. After my year in AmeriCorps (which was a great experience—and is one of the best networks to be a part of in the nonprofit sector), I was offered a job as the coordinator of a new program with a mission of using theater as a way to get kids interested in reading books—by making them come to life. In our third year, we are gearing up to work with 150 kids every week in after-school programs, which means we will distribute over 700 books this year. This program benefits the kids, and it also benefits the youth of the neighborhood, as they are the ones teaching children about literacy through theater. It’s amazing to see this chain reaction in action, where skills I teach teenagers empower them to make a difference and work to educate the elementary school kids from their neighborhoods. Everyday we work to make the Jamaica Plain/Roxbury area a better place, and it’s been an incredible journey so far. I am YNPN Boston.

What Does Professional Development Mean to You?

Professional development means seeking out opportunities to improve your skills in a certain area or that connect you to other professionals to potentially open doors for future collaboration. I think it has to be a very proactive process—you have to know what areas you want to improve in, you have to research opportunities, and then you have to put yourself out there and take advantage of them. You also have to be able to advocate for why certain opportunities are important for you to take part in. Professional development to me really involves self awareness, self advocacy, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to discover and attain new skills.

Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?  Somewhere in grad school. Potentially a Master's in Public Administration program

Pro Tip: Get Involved. Whatever you’ve been neglecting to push yourself to do—do it now. Half of success is initiative.  

 

 


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