MLK Scholar Steeven Cajuste exploring Boston

A Summer of Excitement and Learning

By Steeven Cajuste

I’ve always wanted to start a non-profit organization to help give back to the communities that have helped in raising me, so I was ecstatic when I got the opportunity to work as an intern at Boston Partners in Education. However, I was anxious over what my job would entail as I worked in the office. Fortunately, I had Kledion and Sitnour, fellow MLK Scholars whom shared similar feelings and we were able to help each other step out of their comfort zone.

We had the opportunity to create a video project in which the Executive Director, Erin McGrath, talked about what makes a non-profit organization successful and shared her story about how she came to her position. While funding and establishing a coherent mission are essential, she explained that the most important pillar of a nonprofit is the people that you work with.

She has created an office environment where everyone is approachable and work together as a family. The Scholars and I are grateful to have been part of that family and seek to come and work with the organization again. I felt appreciated by my fellow Scholars and the office because my work and input felt valued. While we worked on our tasks, I learned about my strengths and saw the areas that I need to improve in.

We also had the opportunity to flyer different neighborhoods to recruit volunteers for our programs. We had the impression that people would avoid our approach but we were amazed by how many people were willing to help their community. Despite the summer heat, we were happy to talk to people who genuinely believe in our mission to provide mentorship to BPS students.

The Scholars and I were also tasked to solicit donations for a back to school event in August. I can remember how happy we were when we got our first donation and how we challenged each other in hope to gain a prize from our supervisor and to utter the words, “I have won the challenge.” Though the challenge is not over, I can say I have won an experience which has allowed me to sharpen my social skills, learn more about the nonprofit world and meet some amazing people.