Recent graduate Alison Switzer ’15 launched her career in a familiar setting: the Boys and Girls Club of Geneva at Goodman Street. As a full-time staff member, Switzer is involved with the literacy efforts of Geneva 2020 and helps coordinate a Career Exploration project with the young people involved in the organization.
Switzer has been engaged in youth development work for some time. As an arts and education major, she was hired as a Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning Summer of Service intern. In this internship, she worked as arts coordinator at the Goodman Street Boys and Girls Club site. The summer internship allowed her to build relationships with both the administration and the children of the program, leading up to her career at the Boys and Girls Club.
“Knowing that I had made a difference in one kid’s life inspired me to continue with this organization,” she reflects. “The children come from diverse backgrounds and are faced with difficult situations throughout their young lives. I hope to continue to help show the kids their true potential.”
During the Career Exploration group in the mornings, Switzer enlists the help of HWS faculty members to partner with children who are exploring a future field. Switzer is also games room coordinator for the Club’s Fun in the Sun program.
“I hope to stay with the organization for as long as possible to continue to make connections with the kids and help them as they grow up. In the past year alone we have made some great improvements to our club and I hope to continue building the club to its full potential,” she says.
In addition, Switzer works with the Summer Reading Buddies alongside Geneva 2020 Programs Coordinator Amy Jackson-Sellers to help reduce the loss of summer reading among children. Volunteers from throughout the community choose to read alongside students at the Geneva Public Library to help with this effort.
A native of Geneva, Switzer says this work is meaningful to her because of “how much potential the organization has to have a positive impact on their lives was eye opening. Being able to get involved and give back to my community with the Boys and Girls Club just made sense to me.”