It's amazing what you can do with a little effort.
When Children's Aid alumnus Kevin was told he'd be the subject of a 500-word profile, he smiled. "It would take much more than 500 words to describe how much this organization has meant to me!"
Kevin peppers his speech with exclamation points, projecting a confident passion for what he does and a desire to do it well. He's a freshman at Baruch College, majoring in Public Affairs with a minor in Theater, Communication and Law. In his free time, he works as a wardrobe supervisor on Off-Broadway shows and assists in a class on theatrical design at Manhattan Center for Science and Math (MCSM), his high school and a former Children's Aid community school.
Kevin didn't always pursue dreams with such intensity. Before discovering The Children's Aid Society at MCSM, he saw his life options as much more limited. "I came from a background where there wasn't really much for me to do," he remembers. "Coming to a school that offered so much because of The Children's Aid Society was kind of surprising at first. As a result of these programs, I've always been a step ahead of my friends in other schools." Kevin became active in the Children's Aid-sponsored NY Urban Debate League. Through the debate program, he made a number of lasting friends and gained rhetorical skills that he uses daily at Baruch.
Just as the programs he participated in at MCSM helped Kevin envision a different future for himself, Children's Aid’s Corporate Workplace Program showed him how to achieve those goals in a real-world workplace. Corporate Workplace, a partnership between Children's Aid and executives on its Corporate Advisory Committee, secured Kevin an internship at HBO. "I worked with the photography section, along with a group of four senior photo editors and a computer technician," he remembers. "They gave me a lot of responsibility. They actually had me sit down and work by myself. I picked out the pictures for the Sopranos media book!"
Days at HBO were followed by evening Corporate Workplace seminars covering the finer points of business etiquette, from post-interview thank-you notes to appropriate table manners. "I learned that you shouldn't slouch or use street language in front of a CEO," he recalls with amusement.
Of all the valuable things Kevin learned through his internship, the one he applies most consistently in daily life is multitasking. "I learned at HBO that, while I'm waiting for one thing to get finished by someone else, I should start on something else," he says. It's an approach he's taken into his work in the theater: "Now while I'm waiting around for the set designer to finish something, I can be steaming a costume or helping the actors or actresses get dressed."
Kevin's life has been profoundly shaped by his experiences in Children's Aid's programs. But perhaps most importantly, The Children's Aid Society gave Kevin a sense of belonging – and the knowledge that he's participating in something bigger than himself. "Growing up, I was never part of a community," he says. "Now, at The Children's Aid Society, I feel I'm part of something for the greater good."