Diving In

Rodrigo Blog photo

As I near my seventh month of my Newman’s Own Foundation Fellowship working at Wellness in the Schools in New York City, I’m grateful for everything I’ve experienced by being a part of this amazing organization. The process of transitioning from college to the “real world” was made easy as I was met with such warm, loving, and supportive staff that mentored me and guided me through my first days at WITS. That support, of course, is still persistent today as I continue to learn and grow here.

Although I have my main job responsibility of Program Coordinator for our Coach for Kids Program, I’ve had the gracious opportunity to delve into different departments from development and volunteer coordination to our content creation committee. Such opportunities have given me the chance to use my skills and talents to help feed kids real food and let kids play through various means.

In addition to the valuable work and life skills I’ve gained throughout my time working for WITS, I was also provided with the incredible opportunity of running the TCS NYC Marathon this past November. Not knowing exactly what I was getting myself into with the months of intense long-distance running that would follow, I volunteered to join our Marathon team with our fearless leader and executive director, Nancy Easton, leading the way.

Despite the fact that I had little to no previous experience with long-distance running, I decided to dive in and take on this great battle between mind and matter. Through the constant encouragement and words of wisdom from my colleagues, friends, and family, I was able to cross the finish line and proudly check marathon off my bucket list.

As I sit back and reflect on how lucky I am to work for an organization with a great mission, I’m thankful as I am here today because of the Newman’s Own Foundation. Having been selected as one of 17 Fellows for this year’s Fellowship, Newman’s Own Foundation has provided me with an abundance of networking, development, and coaching opportunities.

My favorite workshop thus far was perhaps the one that focused on how different types of leaders work, along with how to manage-up. I remember geeking out the following day at work, as I was eager to explain to my colleagues how our different personalities affected our work styles. When it came to managing up, my supervisor and I just happen to be two peas in a pod that are constantly on the same page. We’re so in sync that our co-workers at times joke about us knowing what the other will say before saying it. Therefore, managing-up was no problem.

Overall, this Fellowship has been an extremely positive experience that has proven to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I look forward to continuing Paul Newman’s legacy through my hard work and will strive to finish off the year strongly while simultaneously having serious fun.

By Rodrigo Rabanal – NOF Fellow at Wellness in the Schools, New York, NY


Rodrigo Rabanal Crossing the NYC Marathon Line

Rodrigo Rabanal Crossing the NYC Marathon Line