A Toast To You, For Making A Toast To Brighter Futures
A Wonderful Success
The Futures and Options Alumni and Young Professionals Committee welcomed over 150 supporters to the sixth annual A Toast To Brighter Futures on Monday, April 27th.
For the fourth year, the event was held at SPiN New York, and the highlight of the night was the competitive Ping-Pong tournament. The winning team, Clemens Wan, Edmund Suen, Johnson Lee, and Felipe Ossorio, received trophies and a two-hour open bar for ten people at Goldbar. The second place team didn’t go home empty handed - Kelsey Hallman, Adam Gardner, Rob DeGiovine, and Amit Anand, sponsored by Michael Jetton, won gift certificates to SPiN.
Toast is the annual event of our Alumni and Young Professionals Committee, and it supports the Barbara L. Christen Scholarship fund. This year, Toast raised $8,000 for the scholarship fund.
In addition to the Ping-Pong Tournament, Toast attendees enjoyed drinks, appetizers, an exciting raffle, and the chance to mingle with Futures and Options supporters and alumni.
Learning On The Job As A Career Essentials Assistant
My name is Samantha Ortiz, and being a Career Essentials assistant with Futures and Options has been the most transformative experience of my entire life.
Before Futures and Options, I was very introverted and timid. It was difficult for me to break out of my shell; something as simple as introducing myself to someone for the first time was challenging. However, being a Career Essentials assistant has helped me develop confidence. I am constantly meeting new people, which enables me to feel more comfortable interacting with others. I am learning so many skills that will be useful in my future.
As a senior in high school, I was able to implement my public speaking and communication skills when I attended a college interview. I felt prepared in terms of introducing myself, projecting my voice, presenting myself in a professional manner and exerting confidence. Learning how to overcome my shyness when necessary has been the greatest lesson of all. I even feel bolder in social settings that are not work related.
Futures and Options strives to educate the urban youth and provide resources to those who do not have access to internship opportunities or career development. I am from the Bronx, and in my neighborhood there is little opportunity to excel professionally.
I am eternally grateful that Futures and Options has opened their doors to me; I feel empowered and ready to enter the workforce.
Futures and Options Welcomes Three New Staff Members
Cameron joined Futures and Options in March of 2015. Prior to joining the team he was an AmeriCorps VISTA planning a summer internship program for immigrant youths. Before that, he spent two years with City Year New York, working as a tutor, mentor, and role model for students at an underserved high school in Elmhurst, Queens before taking on a leadership role in program planning, communicating with school partners, and managing the day-to-day service of the City Year team working in the school every day. He is passionate about creating experiences for students that are as meaningful and empowering as possible.
After growing up in sunny Temple Terrace, Florida, Cameron attended Emory University in Atlanta, where he published a multimedia research project in a peer-reviewed journal, worked on a multi-volume book project, and did research for a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. He graduated in 2011 with a degree in American Studies and Film Studies.
Cameron believes he will bring some of his prior experience in the education system to this role. "My experience in the classroom included both lesson facilitation for the entire class and one-on-one and small group tutoring for the students who were struggling to succeed. At Futures and Options, I have already drawn on both of these types of experiences, creating fun and engaging workshop experiences for Career Essentials and working closely with interns as they face the challenges in their internships that foster personal and professional growth. Connecting with students is definitely a learned skill, and I am fortunate that I can draw upon my previous experiences to teach and motivate them."
You can reach Cameron via email.
Assistant Program Coordinator
Sarah joined the Futures and Options team in February 2015. Prior to joining Futures and Options she was the Social Media Manager at Women's Education Project, a non-profit focused on educating young women in southern India. As a member of the WEP Headquarters staff she also assisted with developing and writing the core curriculum for WEP students, which was implemented in Spring 2014. While passionate about her work at WEP, Sarah is thrilled to be a part of Futures and Options. She is eager to work with New York City students and be more involved in a direct role with students. She strongly believes in Futures and Options mission, and is honored to be a part of this organization.
"I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Futures and Options team. I am most excited about working with our students and helping them develop career skills and confidence in themselves. I hope to learn how to better understand and address the needs facing the students we work with, and to be a positive role model," she said.
A New York City native, Sarah attended McGill University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2009. Her areas of focus were International Development Studies and Middle East Studies.
You can reach Sarah via email.
Schuyler joined the Futures and Options team in March 2015. Before Futures and Options, Schuyler served as a teaching assistant and program coordinator at Camp 4, an early college program at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. While at Camp 4, Schuyler taught black history and led weekend adventures in rural, central Ohio. He enjoyed working directly with students to help them better their writing and critical thinking skills.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Schuyler graduated from Kenyon College in 2014 with a degree in history. During his junior year, he spent a semester in Sweden at the Stockholm School of Economics studying public policy.
“Futures and Options has a talented and committed team, which makes for a strong and supportive working culture. The work is challenging, but with the support of the Futures and Options staff I feel motivated to do an excellent job every day. I have learned a lot in the last two months at Futures and Options and I’m excited for what’s to come.”
You can reach Schuyler via email.
CE Alumni Network Explores Careers at Big Duck
The CE Alumni Network visited Big Duck, a communications firm that works exclusively with nonprofits, on March 25 for a career exploration field trip. Students learned about communications and fundraising, which are combined into Big Duck’s unique approach called “brandraising.”
At Big Duck’s headquarters in Dumbo, CE Alumni participants were able to discover the varied kinds of careers available at a communications firm, including graphic designer, strategist, marketing manager and campaigns director. The firm’s president, Sarah Durham, talked about her own career journey and how it led her to found the company.
Students also got to see the creation of a nonprofit brand developed by Big Duck, from its beginning stages to the final product, to learn what kind of work goes into each step of the process.
All Career Essentials program graduates are welcome to participate in the CE Alumni Network, which provides opportunities to build upon the work-readiness and network-building skills learned in Career Essentials. The CE Alumni Network is funded by through a generous grant from Gap Inc.