Tina Pimentel is a TCS grad from 2004 who now works at Academy Homes Housing Development directing youth programming.
What is your favorite memory of The City School?
Well, there are too many for me to focus on just one. Nonetheless, my favorite of all has to be my first ever Summer Leadership Program retreat in 2004. Lisa was the director of the program, she was genuinely a loving soul. When coming from an urban community I was not used to seeing organizations or people who cared enough about helping youth succeed past oppression and social inequality; than here comes The City School. My first time as a teenager spending my summer getting paid to make change, it was memorable. SLP '04 was practically my first date with social change. I could never forget the friendships I built, the family I made, and most importantly the change I made with myself.
How have you changed because of your first summer of SLP?
I changed drastically. I am much more confident, I am able to successfully fulfill any task at a job I apply myself to. I always had a dream to become a social worker, that dream is still in existence. However, I find social work a little different than the ordinary social worker. Social work to me means making change in your community first, to effectively impact the lives of families and children. My changes in perspective of what it means to have a powerful voice. Being able to speak out against injustice, homelessness or anything else that effects our community as a whole. I am able to conduct and implement ideas at my current job as an Activity Service Coordinator. I implement many leadership aspects so that the youth are able to lead, present and plan projects that create change to who they're and their community. Confidence in my youth and myself all aspire from my commitment to community.
How have you continued your commitment to social justice beyond the Summer Leadership Program?
My job for one; I am always making a commitment to social justice at work. I organize and partner with many local organizations and agencies so that they're able to present and lead workshops around social justice issues. Issues include: racism, sexism, healthy relationships, youth and police relationships and more. I bring leadership to my job. I see something that needs to be done and I make a plan around it. I had the youth at my job engaging in their Summer Action Plans (SAP) and they learn about team work, effective communication, ways to build trust and more. Through these qualities of character they are able to work as a group. They are able to tackle an issue that they care enough about. These are some of the influences I have adopted from The City School and I continue to adapt them to my work and life.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to run my own non-profit. It is a difficult process and something I am learning so much about. It is hard, but I am ready for my community to help me. I want to continue to influence the lives of youth 'at-risk', in hardship or who just need a place to shine. I plan to help families and teens from all backgrounds. My future is viewed with a telescope and I can grasp each goal for you, but in the end it all leads to my own non-profit.
If you could have coffee with one social justice activist, who would it be and why?
I would have to choose W.E.B. Du Bois. His writings influence me to become better informed about my ethnicity and civil rights. He was smart, driven and could convey any argument. I could see myself as persuasive and witty as he put out to be. If I could just have had time with him, it would be A-MAZINGG. His knowledge about racism, his racial history, it is all beyond a source or a book. I want to be as informed and educated as he was. Let alone, he is from Massachusetts.
Profile Created January 2014