A group of young professionals working at youth-serving nonprofits through the FAO Schwarz Family Foundation, including Boston Program Associate & FAO Fellow Sarah Kacevich, took part in a retreat in Philadelphia from April 29-May 2. The FAO Schwarz Family Foundation Foundation trains recent college graduates to become future leaders in the social sector by providing nonprofits in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia with the opportunity to host a Fellow for two years. Fellows work on both direct service and project-based initiatives, and gain access to a unique community of mentors including host organization staff, Fellowship alumnae and trustees, and peer Fellows. Twice each year, Fellows gather to experience the impactful work of their peers’ programs, learn from nonprofit leaders, and participate in professional development activities.
This spring’s retreat included visits to The Food Trust, an organization dedicated to ensuring access to healthy, affordable food; the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, an arts and social justice group; and the Please Touch Museum, a space that enriches the lives of children by creating learning opportunities through play.
Fellows were given the opportunity to hear directly from Executive Directors Yael Lehmann (The Food Trust), Jane Golden (Mural Arts), and Lynn McMaster (Please Touch Museum) regarding their personal and professional journeys to leadership roles. Some common themes ran throughout their stories: the value of humor, admitting mistakes, and asking for help; the importance of listening to and prioritizing the needs and desires of the community one serves; and the positive impact of a culture of innovation among staff, volunteers, and individuals served.
The group also witnessed programming in action, including a visit to a local corner store part of The Food Trust’s healthy food vendor certification program; a stop by Bodine High School, where youth and adult community members had completed a water-themed project through the Mural Arts Program’s Restored Spaces Initiative; and a hands-on look at the Please Touch Museum’s programs aimed at exposing youth to gardening and nature through play.
The photos below provides a snippet of the week’s activities. Interested in finding out how you can apply to host or serve as an FAO Fellow? Visit the Foundation’s website to learn more. Competitive fellowship opportunities for 2015-2017 are currently available at Generation Citizen in Boston; Row New York and Riverkeeper in New York; and The Food Trust in Philadelphia.

Food trust corner store

Fellows Shaina Spann of Jumpstart New York (left) and Charlotte Rendon of Row New York (center) speak with a team member of The Food Trust inside a corner store where TFT is working with owners to provide healthy food options.

mural arts gaby

Gaby Gomez, Fellow at Breakthrough New York, takes a break from the action at the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

FAO Retreat 1 food trust

Fellows are all smiles following a visit to The Food Trust.

FAO Retreat 2 mural arts

The group visited Bodine High School, site of a water-themed project lead by youth and community members through the Mural Arts Program’s Restored Spaces initiative.