Fellow Spotlight #3!

The blog this week is our third edition of the Fellows Interview Series. Three Fellows from the cohort share their answers to questions regarding who they are!

Davante Jennings 2

Name: Davante 

Hometown: Alexandria, VA

Host Organization: The Posse Foundation, New York, NY

What is one word to describe your fellowship so far?  Mine (in a sense of ownership and accepting responsibility)

What is something that you have accomplished in your Fellowship that you are proud of?

The project that has been most exciting to me is the opportunity to find stories for Posse to include in its newest video. This meant that I got to interact with Posse Scholars in a way that is atypical in the national office. I got to ask Scholars their stories and journeys – and the best part of all this was that they actually wanted to share them with me.

If you had $50,000 to give away to any organization(s), where would it go?

If anyone knows me, they know my love and commitment to Steve’s Camp at Horizon Farms. After three years working with Steve’s Camp, I feel my life definitely changed for the better. At Steve’s Camp, we offer underserved high school students primarily from Brooklyn and the Bronx a completely free, all-inclusive opportunity to explore life outside of their comforting New York City. With healthy heart, healthy mind, healthy body, and my personal addition of healthy relationships at the center of our work, I feel good about this work. I know that lives beside my own are being changed. Steve’s Camp is a true representation of small endeavors making grand strides. I’ve seen what just a few hundred dollars has done for our youth in our year-round college-preparedness program, $50,000 would be unfathomable.

If you could spend 24 hours with any person that ever lived- celebrity, late presidents, friends, etc., who would it be?

Jesus. I believe Jesus to be the absolute definition of care, patience, affirmation. Love. Despite efforts to be kinder and have a gentler spirit, I still fall short. I trust Jesus and from such an experience expect to undoubtedly be better.

Bettina Gonzalez

Name: Bettina 

Hometown: Northern Virginia
Ancestral: Parañaque, Philippines

Host Organization: Center for Native American Youth at The Aspen Institute

What is one word to describe your fellowship so far? Empowering

What is something that you have accomplished in your Fellowship that you are proud of?

In terms of deliverables, I would say my proudest accomplishment was developing and designing CNAY’s inaugural State of Native Youth Report during the first half of my fellowship. It was my first experience managing a project for an organization, and I often thought my team was crazy for assigning such an important task for me to lead. But I ended up surprising myself — with the help of my team, we were able to put together an exceptional product that was informative, eye-catching, and engaging.

However, in the grander scheme of things, my proudest accomplishment – although, I’m by no means done with it – has been becoming more informed and educated on indigenous peoples in the US, their histories, priorities, cultures, etc. It was incredibly intimidating going into a space and area of work where I had almost no background on, but I have learned (thanks in part to my team) to push past intimidations and insecurities and just think about how I can better myself to serve our constituents.

If you could spend 24 hours with any person that ever lived- celebrity, late presidents, friends, etc., who would it be?

Does Batman count? If not, I would love love LOVE to be able to spend time with the world-famous traveler, author, and badass chef Anthony Bourdain. Preferably eating a bunch of street food during a late night in a local hangout scene in Latin America or Southeast Asia. My dream job is to work for him – to travel the corners of the world, make television documentaries, and eat good food. 

If you could visit any one place in the world, where would it be?

If I could travel anywhere, I would visit the Philippines. My family emigrated from the Philippines back in 2003 and, due to financial struggles, have not been back since. Over the last several years, I’ve increasingly forgotten the Philippines and, unfortunately, my Filipina identity as well since I didn’t have a community to keep myself grounded. But with this fellowship at CNAY, seeing all our youth leaders proudly hold onto their cultures, I realized how culture is an important part of one’s identity and should not be forgotten. I’m learning to take pride in my Filipino culture and heritage – and I think traveling back home would help strengthen that process.

Amethyst Carey.jpg

Name: Amethyst 

Hometown: Ewing, NJ

Host Organization: Daily Table

What is one word to describe your fellowship so far?  Enlightening

What is something that you have accomplished in your Fellowship that you are proud of?

I’m proud of the relationships I’ve been able to build between Daily Table and a few local schools. Getting involved in service is so important and it can often be a pathway to scholarships and jobs if you don’t have formal working experience. Working with school and organization leaders to create service opportunities for local youth at Daily Table has been really fulfilling and I hope those partnerships continue after my fellowship year is over.

What’s something about yourself that you hope will never change?

I hope I never stop fighting for the people and communities I care about.

If you had $50,000 to give away to any organization(s), where would it go?

If I had $50,000 to give away to any organization(s), I’d split it up and donate it to a few of the grassroots, community-driven urban farming organizations that are helping communities to build (and control) their own food systems. This work is so important and usually isn’t funded the way other larger non-profit organizations are.