Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Catalyst Contributors: Amber Walker

Hi! My name is Amber C. Walker. I am a recent grad of Oberlin College where I double majored in African American Studies and Gender/Sexuality/Feminist Studies. I am originally from Chicago, IL but moved to Miami in August to start my term as an Americorps  “Volunteer in Service to America” (VISTA) here at Catalyst. My interest in the nonprofit sector stems from my desire to end the disparities that exist between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” I come from a low-income/working-class background and I’ve experienced firsthand the effects that poverty can have on a community. I’ve been fortunate enough to have access to schools and extra-curricular activities that enriched my development, but my experience was the exception rather than the rule. Most of the young people in my neighborhood deal with underperforming schools and a lack of access to safe spaces and other basic needs that so many of us take for granted. Witnessing this disparity, I took it upon myself to do whatever I could to eradicate it. I want to use my education and my privilege to raise awareness about the issues of poverty that millions of Americans live with on a daily basis.

As a VISTA this year at Catalyst Miami I’m co-facilitating our first cohort of “SoundOut,” a program aimed at increasing civic engagement and leadership skills among high school students. I’m excited to interact with students and hear their stories, passions and hopes for the future. I remember during high school how important my mentors were in helping me to achieve my goals and I hope that I can serve the students in a similar way through my participation in “SoundOut.” I also expect to learn some things from them along the way!

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