Turning the Page: Reflecting on Beginnings and New Chapters

Turning the Page: Reflecting on Beginnings and New Chapters

Posted on June 21, 2024 by Avery Crews Prado de Lima, TPF Fellow 2023/24
If you haven’t already learned this about me, I am a reader. It is my preferred activity for passing time and has allowed me to live thousands of lives in my 25 years on this planet. A habit I have, borne out of curiosity for how many books I have read in my life, is to write down every book I read. Having done this since 2021, I now have a list of exactly 364 books that I have read in that time frame. Each of those books marks a moment in time, and each genre represents a time in my life when I needed that kind of story.

My time at TPF has been like that. The opportunity to become a TPF Fellow came at just the right moment in my life. While I never like to see a book end, I am always glad to begin a new one, and that is just what this new role at Scholarship America will be.

During my time in Sarasota, I have had the opportunity to embrace so many initiatives and projects that strengthened me and enabled me to connect with thousands of people and hundreds of organizations across the nation. It only seems fitting that my fellowship started off with a project that centered around a book that brought 144 book circles and 1,078 community members together. The When You Wonder, You’re Learning Book Circle Project was my opportunity to get to know my new community and the people who make it up. This project prepared me for much of the work still to come during my time at TPF and showed me my love for connecting with people.

The Nonprofit Internship Program allowed me to leverage my lived experience as a graduate intern at IU and take the program to new heights. Throughout the last year, I have worked with 14 organizations and interns who have brought immense knowledge and creativity to how they have addressed their work and sought to create change within our community. This program will continue to grow with 6 internships set for the Fall 2024 Semester and new opportunities for the Spring 2025 Semester.

Fueling Dynamic Fundraising has allowed me to connect with more than 40 nonprofits across the Suncoast to support them in approaching fundraising from a unique lens. This initiative, in partnership with the Indiana University Fund Raising School, allowed me to gain hands on experience in fundraising while also providing me with the unique opportunity to consult with WSLR Fogartyville on a project related to one of the courses offered. This initiative continues to grow, with more offerings available this summer and fall for local nonprofits.

Suncoast Remake Learning Days enabled me to build relationships with 277 community partners, supporting 304 events attended by 36,500 community members. This gave me immense opportunities to enhance my ability to connect with individuals and support them in the ways they needed. I also worked with the national Remake Learning Days team and connected with partners worldwide as they organized their own learning festivals.

Along with all of these projects and initiatives, I supported the monthly SCGLR ESOL/ELL convening, presented on a Campaign for Grade-Level Reading panel at the Exponent Philanthropy Conference in Baltimore, collected more than 160 devices in support of Digital Inclusion Month with the DA4A team, connected with more than 400 community members through 10 roundtable discussions and 24 community conversations as a part of the Harwood Project in DeSoto County, crafted 40+ blogs and podcasts, co-created Immersion 2024: Crafting Community alongside TPF Fellow Andrew Spector, designed a Participatory Grantmaking Project alongside the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and worked on the CPR-R Initiative to help our communities become more disaster prepared by connecting external stakeholders with resources to support their efforts.

My time as a Fellow at The Patterson Foundation has strengthened me in endless ways, and I am grateful for all the relationships I have built during this time. While I am excited about this next chapter in my life, my TPF chapter will always be bookmarked as a time I look back upon with gratitude.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.