Finding the In-Between

Hello!  My name is Amethyst and I am the Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator at Daily Table in Dorchester, MA. I was born in Boston, but I grew up in Ewing, NJ with my mom and little sister. I graduated from Oberlin College last May with a BA in Sociology and am so excited to be spending this year as a Newman’s Own Foundation Fellow.

As a Bonner Scholar at Oberlin College, I was given the opportunity to continue to engage with service in my new community with a cohort of similarly civic-minded low-income students. While my time at Oberlin was filled with many ups and downs, my involvement with the Bonner Program was a consistent source of love, support, and growth. I was constantly engaged in direct service while also learning about the systems we have in this society that create the issues that many non-profits aim to address. I learned how to account for who I am, how I grew up, and the privileges that even I (as a poor, Black, queer woman) hold in the ways that I interact with the people I serve.

Fast forward to this year and I’ve switched from working for volunteer coordinators to doing the volunteer coordinating. I run volunteer trainings with my supervisor and Senior Director, Fredi, actively recruit new volunteers and sustain old relationships, and work to make sure our program is running the best it possibly can. I’m also the Community Outreach Coordinator, where my focus is on spreading the word about the resource Daily Table can be to Dorchester residents who are looking to incorporate healthier food into their diet at a truly affordable price. Just like at Oberlin, I find myself the happiest and the most engaged with my work when I am out and about, speaking directly with community members and learning from them as I share the resources I have to offer.

As this year zooms by and I begin to think about what my next steps will be, I’m so grateful for the opportunity that Newman’s Own Foundation and Daily Table have given me to experience what it’s like to work in the non-profit sector full time. I’ve been able to experience both direct service and working to affect change at the administrative level—and I’ve realized that in my professional life, I’d like to live somewhere in between. As a poor, Black woman who has also had the privilege of attending an elite, private college (followed by this fantastic fellowship) I’m in a really unique position to be able to bring back what I’ve learned to the communities I come from. I’ve been considering a career in social work: a position that will hopefully allow me to reallocate resources to community members directly, with compassion and empathy from my own personal experiences and knowledge of “how things work” learned from this fellowship and my current professional position. I’m truly looking forward to the journey.

-Amethyst

The featured image presents Amethyst trying out one of the Daily Table’s affordable and healthy smoothies!