On April 5th, a group of five interns and alumni participated in a panel discussion to share their experience at Hopeworks and their insights into how they have been impacted by it. Interns Willem Schrieks, Charlene Newbill, and Sekinah Brodie, joined alumni Marcus Williams and India Lee as they expressed gratitude for the opportunities presented to them at Hopeworks. Moderator Mike Dershowitz facilitated a candid discussion about the challenges facing Camden youth that hold them back from reaching their potential, and how the support and training they found at Hopeworks helped them to create pathways around those obstacles.
Marcus, one of Hopeworks’ first trainees in 1999-2000 who helped to create the curriculum, shared that at 19 and 20 years old, he felt he had two options – death or jail – and credits Hopeworks with saving his life. Hopeworks offered a lifeline to him and way to channel his talent and motivation. Marcus is now an entrepreneur and business owner. India, who participated in Hope Through School as a 7th and 8th grader, found a passion for design and communications. She has since graduated from Delaware State Univ. with a B.A. in Communications and is working as a production assistant at CBS. Both alumni are happy to be at a point in their lives to give back to other Camden youth at Hopeworks!
Interns Will, Charlene, and Sekinah, say they have found a full range of professional, academic, and emotional support at Hopeworks that has helped them to map a path to success while offering opportunities to network and connect with professionals who can help them along the way. Mistakes and failures, they have learned, are a part of the process. Charlene believes, “with the support of the staff…youth have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and really push themselves forward.” Having role models, mentors, networking opportunities, and an unwavering commitment to their success by Hopeworks’ staff, has helped them to learn self-sufficiency. But not without hard work and accountability. According to Will, if you take advantage of all the opportunities offered and put in the work and dedication, then you will succeed at Hopeworks and beyond.
You can view the panel discussion on our Facebook page.