By Naijla Faizi, DC Middle and High School Program Coordinator
Photos Courtesy of Chelsea Iorlano, Development and Communications Associate
I want to thank all of you for an amazing 6 months starting from my summer internship until now. Unfortunately, due to personal family circumstances, I will be cutting my time at AALEAD short, and this Friday, Dec. 23 will be my last day with AALEAD. I can’t say enough about this experience— it’s been a dream come true. Leaving college, my goal was to work at a nonprofit in DC that worked with youth, particularly those in high school. Who knew that a little over a year later I would actually have the opportunity to achieve my goal!
Asian American LEAD has been this incredible organization where I’ve been able to engage with my social justice interests, use my knowledge from college, and explore my own identity along with my youth. What I found to be most impressive about AALEAD is their commitment to having a diverse staff that mirrors their youth’s experiences and backgrounds. Not only was I excited to come to work every day for my youth, but I was looking forward to engaging with my coworkers. It was an environment each day where I knew I would be able to laugh, smile, be myself, and develop personal relationships. The staff at AALEAD are passionate, committed, empathetic, understanding, and above all else, supportive. I could not have been successful in this position or be making this difficult transition without their support.
To my youth, I cannot thank you enough for all of the love, support, and learning that you’ve given me these past months. This has been an unforgettable experience largely due to each of you. You have taught me so much and helped me grow and learn in ways that I didn’t know I could. I’ve told each of you time and time again that the best part of my day is seeing all of you, without a doubt. I know that you are all strong, resilient, intelligent youth and that whatever you decide to pursue in the coming years and after AALEAD you will be successful. I hope all of you know how amazing each of you are, and that you never let the difficult moments in life make you feel otherwise.
Our Winter Celebration on Mon. Dec. 19 was a perfect way to end my time at AALEAD. I saw youth who typically wouldn’t interact with one another playing games, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. We laughed together, learned from one another, and shared memories. Thank you AALEAD for everything you have given me. I will see you all again when I visit!
All the Best,