Q: What’s your favorite memory at Carver?
A: When I was running the high school program, the college tour was my favorite part. That was when I truly connected with the kids. When I first came to Carver, I was worried that some of the kids didn’t trust me. But when we went on the college tour, we really became connected and they started telling me what they wanted to do once they got out of high school and what type of careers they wanted to get into. It was a lot of fun and we really became friends.
Q: What’s your favorite part of your job?
A: My favorite part of my job is when parents and kids are happy with the progress in school. I love seeing how happy the parents are when their kids are doing better in school. I have some kids who make significant jumps in their reading, and as a result their parents are less stressed. When you see a kid who’s finally picking up on things a bit, and you see how confident they are, it’s a great feeling.
Q: How have the kids at Carver impacted you?
A: One thing I’ve learned with these kids here is they keep you up to speed with pop culture. You learn what’s in style with the youth. Something that’s cool about this job is that I get a chance to see what kids are talking about– what type of clothing they’re wearing, what type of haircuts they like, or what phrases they use. I get a chance to keep up with what’s going on in young people’s lives in kindergarten all the way up to high school. I learn all of these things by interacting with them, and it’s amazing.
Q: How would you describe Carver to someone who doesn’t know what it is?
A: I always like to talk about Motown Records- this small building in Detroit where artists would go and interact with all these different writers, producers, and actors, and as a result they would emerge as a great artist. They brought out Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye. Carver is kind of like Motown-- kids are coming here, they’re working with teachers, the program managers, and volunteers, and as a result, once they graduate high school, they have this great sense of where they want to go and what they want to do.
Q: If Carver kids were to take away one thing from their time here, what would you want it to be?
A: Confidence. Knowing that people care. If you have a group of people in a place that you know care for you, it gives you confidence. I get kids all the time who ask me for college recommendations because they know that they have someone here who aims to help them. It’s a great feeling for these kids to know that they have somewhere to come back to if they need anything once they go out into the world with lots of unknowns. Carver is an amazing home for kids to have away from their actual home.
Q: What are some of the extra-curricular activities for the CASPER kids?
A: One of my favorite activities, and the kids’ favorite activities, is going to see the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra. The kids get the chance to see professional musician and learn about different types of instruments, and if they’re really interested, the kids can go to a real concert with their parents at city hall. And that right there is a nice exposure to music at a young age and it helps motivate kids to learn new instruments or to practice more if they already play.