Leading Change

Leading Change

March 19, 2018 Reflections from Changemakers 37
It is evident that as Bonners we must learn how to be both effective leaders and members of a team. Please highlight a project you are working on at your site this semester that you have either taken the lead on or worked on as part of a team. How can you transfer the skills you have learned from this into the Bonner program here at Siena and in your life after college?


37 Responses

  1. Jordan Thompson says:

    This semester I have been taking a step back and mentoring my fellow program associates from behind the scenes. Through my past two years as a Program Associate, I have been able to experience what it takes to plan Training and Enrichment, mentoring a class, planning special events and conferences, and managing my personal life with my professional life. I have learned many things and experienced moments that have made me laugh and have made me cry. We could not have such a successful Bonner Program without a strong PA team and the best way to pass on the knowledge is by being a support to my peers as they take on the larger projects of the program. Instead of just telling someone how to do something, it has been proven more successful to do it with them instead and answer questions along the way. This has been a tough thing for me to learn because I have always had the instinct to step up and be leader. Being a PA, I have truly discovered what it means to work as a team and to take a step back and delegate.

    I have accepted a post-grad job as a Logistics Coordinator for a company in Troy. Through my position in Bonner, I was able to talk about my strong organizational skills, my self-driven tendencies, and my ability to work in a team. With these skills I will be able to prosper in my position and hopefully to set me on a fast-track to moving up in the company.

  2. Brendan says:

    In my capacity as a Bonner Service Leader at the CJOC, I have been able to lead meetings for the Community Accountability Board. At first it was intimidating to take on a new role, where I would have to lead many different members of the community and defendants in discussions on what harm was done to the community through the victim’s actions, and how the defendant can repair the harm. After each session, I have to facilitate the creation of a “reparative agreement” between the board and the defendant. The defendant then has to perform community service hours at nonprofit site, as well as accomplishing tasks such as writing essays, research papers or apology letters. Through my responsibilities leading the board, I have learned about leadership, public speaking, facilitating meetings, and I have also gained knowledge about the Albany community, and the historical problems with poverty and the criminal justice system in the city. These skills are transferrable to leadership roles in almost any job, however I feel like the knowledge I have gained leading the Community Accountability Board meetings will help me in terms of future careers in the local area, especially in fields that I am interested in, such as law or government.

    Lets Go Mets!

  3. Nicole Pazarecki says:

    Happy Easter!
    Bonner and working at my service site TRIP has taught me many leadership skills. It has helped me to work together with my peers and co-workers. Currently at TRIP I am the social media coordinator. This is a independent job and has taught me to be self sufficient. Also I have been helping out in the TRIP office dealing with families purchasing homes for an affordable price. Even though these projects aren’t that big, I am still learning the ropes of TRIP and next year will encounter bigger project when I have more understanding of TRIP.

    • Jamie del Rosario says:

      I like that you seem to be doing both individual and team projects. Looking forward to seeing where you go moving forward next year with this site.

  4. Justin John says:

    I have been working hard at helping Ms.Cintron create an Alumni Program for Green Tech. We have reached out to several graduates that would like to help us create the foundation for the program. Other than that I learned that a mentoring program called “Each One Teach One”that I developed at Henry Johnson Charter School is deciding to expand the program to include more activities and children. This will be another volunteer site that the boys at Green Tech can participate in. I should be meeting with some staff members that I used to work with at Henry Johnson to figure out what should be implemented into the program.

    Skills from the Bonner program has helped me develop my networking skills. These skill has made me more recognizable to others in the community and allows for greater opportunities down the road. This is great because one of my goals is to make an impact in the Albany communities that have raised my friends and me. Knowing a lot of people allows me to obtain greater resources to make this impact come true. I am truly honored and blessed to be apart of the Bonner Program.

  5. Julia Fleming says:

    This semester Kathryn, Kierra, and I created a list of potential programs for the Boys and Girls Club! We each picked an idea to work with and are in the process of starting these programs! I decided to develop a program about how kids can deal with stress in a fun way! Next year during program time, I plan on going over the impact stress has on an individual and then facilitating a fun activity that can help reduce stress: yoga, face masks, drinking tea, journaling, coloring, etc. In addition, I think we can use some of the ideas we brainstormed for one day events/activities! Maybe once a month we could have a special activity for the kids during program time! During this planning process, I realized how important teamwork is. Kathryn, Kierra, and I were able to come up with so many ideas because we worked together. One idea led to another!! I will definitely use my peers as inspiration for future projects in Bonner and in my life after college. Have a great spring break!!


  6. Justin Kenyon says:

    This semester I have given the role of keeping track of Make Readies (preparing properties for new tenants). Going over time sheets and imputing them into a database. This project has given me more familiarity, as well as data analysis. Being a part of this project has given me an opportunity to further develop skills that might not apply to my major or what I want to do. However, doing so will make me more valuable.

  7. Kathleen Callery says:

    At my site, I am currently working with Taylor to build a mentor program. It started with a bit of difficulty because we were both ensure the expectations and requirements of what needed to be done for the program. However, I think that our ALH project really prospered this semester. We both worked hard with each other to develop something that we were excited to implement. This work ethic came from both Taylor and I bring different skills. We were able to work well as a team and I’m really proud of that!

  8. Harriet Koblenzer says:

    Right now I am taking the lead on getting two Montessori accreditations for Castle Island. This requires a lot of research, organizing, and communication. I have had to review both processes and outline the steps that my service site needs to go through. I consistently organize all of the documents needed for the accreditations. Also since taking on this role, I have been communicating with the two accreditation offices.

    This experience I am a part of will help me develop my leadership skills, but also team working skills. In life, and as a Bonner, at times I will need to be a leader and sometimes I will need to work efficiently as a team member. Communication, researching, and organizing are all transferable skills that will help me in all aspects of life and at any stage of life. Communication is so vital as a Bonner, and is something I continue to improve on. Organizational skills is a constant battle with me, at points I have everything under control and other times I am not organized. With the experience I am getting with the accreditation process, I am improving my consistency with being organized.

  9. Kiara Woodward says:

    My site has not introduced me to many group projects. But recently I have been tasked with helping with College Access Day. Although I have not made much of a dent in the role I have been given I know the skills I learn will be valuable. Skills like organizing and booking people to come for the panel or working collaboratively to manage groups on event day. These skills will help me improve both my communication and leadership skills. These skills are transferable to Bonner because we are constantly tasked with professional interactions and these skills can only make these situations run more smoothly.


  10. Gabby Tegiacchi says:

    Right now I am student teaching at Schenectady High, so I am expected to lead the class every day. I teach the lessons, plan them, grade them, the whole deal. It’s a lot of work, but it has been an incredible experience. Even though I am taking the lead of a team of one, I have two awesome mentor teachers who really work with me and push me to do my best. One of my mentor teachers challenges everything I say and propose to make me think about it and help me to make the best choices. In a position like this, you also have to do a lot of self-reflecting about what you need to do well and what you can work on and do better on. It’s hard sometimes to lead yourself, especially on days when there are more needs for improvement than things you’ve done successfully, but it’s such an important part of the work we do as teachers, it really is a service profession.

    Looking ahead, I am lining up some interviews for potential job opportunities in the area, where I will get to be a part of an even bigger team that supports students. I couldn’t be busier or more overwhelmed, but I also couldn’t be happier or more grateful.



  11. ecli vazquez says:

    I have been working on a website as well in their after school program at my site. The way I can use this in the real world is by learning how to present an idea. As well as learning new ways to market myself. My should me that bonds and connections are important because if you ever in need of help people with different skills will be at service.

  12. Shannon Stout says:

    I have been working on a program series since I began at Teresian House called “Faith and Fun”. It normally occurs about twice a month. Each time we get together, the residents and I discuss various saints on their feast days, the liturgical seasons of the Church, read scripture, sing songs, etc. This is a program that is near and dear to my heart. Each time we come together, the residents truly dive in. It is amazing to see how they come to discover the Holy Spirit moving in new ways (and He continues to surprise me too!). Being able to walk with them as they continue their journey of faith is a great blessing.

    Depending on the program, we could have music, scripture sharing, open discussion, and definitely prayer. Starting this program has given me a beautiful foundation of being able to let the Spirit lead. It has given me skills to plan these retreat-like programs. I am very grateful to the Bonner Program for this beautiful opportunity to serve alongside these residents as they grow in their faith. I will certainly take the skills that I have learned here with me, as the Lord continues to guide me.

  13. Kiana H says:

    A project I am working on at the Boys and Girls Club is a self-made curriculum on bullying and how to notice it, prevent it, and help someone who is being bullied. Facilitating or presenting was never part of my vocabulary when I started college. With the Bonner Program, I learned how to be more comfortable public speaking and facilitating something that I am passionate about. When moving on to my future career path, I think I will feel more comfortable and ready to facilitate and public speak in front of many.

    • Jamie del Rosario says:

      I really liked seeing your project at the meeting. I’m sure it will go great at your site.

  14. Kelsey DelMastro says:

    Over my four years in the Bonner program, I have greatly built on and improved my professionalism skills that will translate into success in the real world post grad. When I was a freshman I was absolutely terrified of public speaking and though I am not the most confident public speaker now, I can tell that I have made some serious progress. I have improved my communication skills and my delegation skills. I have learned how to be a team player and a team leader. I have confidence that I am prepared to enter the workforce and succeed in my next chapter.

  15. Shadane says:

    My site focused on transitioning to a new database provider, I took the lead independently to prepare the data for the transition. From this experience, I learned a lot about safeguarding data, the need for streamlined communication between my site and the provider, and I acquired knowledge about a particular fund development resource. I could apply these skills in the future if I decide to pursue a role as a fund developer. As for our Bonner Program, the knowledge and polished skills I acquired could be useful for other Bonner’s who are working on grant writing and fund development in other ways.

  16. Taylor Disco says:

    This semester at ALH Kate and I have taken on roles for both College Access Day and Women’s Leadership Career Day.

    For College Access day, I am really excited to see how so many people can come together for one purpose and how it is executed the day of. I believe it will be an awesome opportunity to take two local charter schools and for one community. I am also eager to see how adding a networking component to the event this year will work out. I hope that it will motivate students to make connections and take the lead in starting to think about future plans/ education.

    As far as career day, I am currently putting together the biographies for the speakers we are having come talk in a panel. It is really beautiful to see such strong, leading women coming to talk. Each woman has really left an impact not only on their place of employment, but as leaders in the community. It goes to show that you can be both successful, and making difference.

    It has certainly inspired me to find my niche in the community, and I am hoping it inspires the students as well. Especially because each woman has found success regardless of their difference in background, upbringing, or education.

  17. Heather Ryan says:

    This semester I have really been transitioning out of my big projects at Capital Roots as I get ready to graduate. One thing I have been working on the most while I am there is updating the current data base information as we prepare to move it over to a new database provider. This is something I have worked on individually while I’m there but is work that a whole team of people are doing. The main skills it focuses on are attention to detail and good communication skills as all the people working on this are not all together at the same time. These are both very important in the professional setting, job setting, etc.

  18. Kylie Gilbride says:

    Both this semester, and last semester, have been extremely productive at Castle Island. A collaborative project that the Castle Island staff, Harriet, and I have been working on has been finding a new location for our site. This is great news because student enrollment is increasing, and we are outgrowing our current location. Two other projects that I’ve been working on are creating a school directory for Castle Island families as well as creating safety (lockdown) procedures for the school to follow. Castle Island is the kind of site that Bonners need make their own work at, so by me already practicing these skills, I know that I’ve already learned so much that I can take with my beyond my time at Siena.

    B-Love and happy spring break!

  19. Amelia Butler says:

    For the last year (wow I can’t believe it has been a year already!), I have been working on a Cut Product line at Capital Roots. This project allows us to put pre-cut produce into the hands of people who may need it to promote healthy snacking or just general convenience. Since the program officially launched last March, we have been working to track the programs successes/ failures, work on expanding, and begin to transition some of the responsibilities to various volunteers. This semester, since the launch was about a year ago, we have really been working on all of these goals. Yesterday, we launched our first of a few new products that we are going to be trialing on the Veggie Mobile and Veggie Mobile Sprout, an Italian Vegetable Blend. We are also planning on launching another new product on the day we come back from break! I have also been working on developing a user guide that would teach volunteers how the containers are packaged, labeled, and documented so that they have begin to take over that portion of the process. I have also been working with the Marketing and Media team at Capital Roots to design new marketing pieces to highlight the Cut Product line and the new products we are offering. Everything I have been working on is already influencing my life and future. I learned that I actually really like designing marketing pieces, and I might actually do some more of that with SEB next year. I have also learned a lot about seasonal produce and consumer needs through my research into new product ideas. This is always a good skill to have. Developing the volunteer training program has taught me just how much is actually going into the product I am producing which really makes me appreciate what I am doing more!

    B-Love Always,

  20. Dana Wakeman says:

    Currently at Mercy House, we are working to create a Workforce Development program in order to better prepare the guests with skills to obtain and maintain employment. As we begin this program, there is a lot of team work as we are working together to clean and organize the program’s space. Also, I have taken the lead by creating a list of supplies that we will need and by designing the layout for the center. I have learned that when creating a new project or program, you need as much help as possible in order to accomplish it in the time allotted. From this experience, I will bring the skills of organizing, delegating tasks, and research back to Siena and Bonner, which I can use for future projects.

  21. Everin Chacho says:

    This semester being apart of the Produce Project brought forth a new role, as supervisor to the students. This compared to last semester where I was just another worker who was learning the ropes. I have now been placed in a leadership role where I am in charge and had to make sure we were efficiently completing the tasks. What I have been doing this semester has been overseeing a group of students- assigning them tasks as well as unfortunately giving the students steps ( strikes ) if they’re off task, on their phone, cursing, and or horse playing. With this it has made me grow out of my shell and forced me to fill in bigger shoes. I have learned to strengthen my communication skills as well as my ability to partake in teamwork. Such skills can be easily transferred into the working world since being able to clearly and concisely communicate with someone will reduce error and increase efficiency while teamwork is an important component of many situations in the workplace.

  22. Kevin Ziobrowski says:

    I recently worked on a project in which I was asked to videotape footage of customers interacting with our employees in a certain program of ours. As someone who has little to no experience taking videos, this was quite stressful. However, with the support of the team, I was able to ease up, and was reassured I did a good job, despite the confusing manner of the project altogether. I can use these skills I was taught in other video projects I embark on in my college career.

  23. Marlie Frisco says:

    Recently, I have been working on a Health and Safety Binder for my Site. It includes proper precautions and procedures if an incident were to occur, such as scratches, burns, anaphylaxis, and other health emergencies than can happen in a school. I can use the skills and knowledge I acquire from learning all the proper procedures in my future because going into Medical school, I will have a background knowledge as well as a basic understanding of medical practices that occur in schools. Having the basic understanding of how to help in a medical emergency, whether simple or complex, can allow me to remain calm in situations as well as aid wherever my help is needed.

  24. Nima Chatterjee says:

    This semester I have been conducting interviews over the phone with different schools to gather information about the backpack program. This is allowing me to not only increase my knowledge about the program, but also develop good interpersonal and communication skills that I can use in my future career. It has taught me to be understanding and aware to other people’s differences and issues which is a good skill to have when you are working with anyone.

  25. Billy Mayer says:

    I am so excited for the work that I’ve done this semester. For one, I’ve been working on my capstone since the Fall, working with the nonprofit Mayan Hands. Just a few weeks ago, I was able to travel to Guatemala to implement the research that I’ve done for my capstone, and be able to actually meet the women that my research focuses on. This was the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my undergraduate career. It’s one thing to write about something. It’s another to work with a nonprofit to research a topic. It’s totally different to do both of those things, and then actually see everything you’ve researched in real-life. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to work with the indigenous groups in Guatemala to learn more about their lifestyles, and hear their perspectives. While you all have heard a lot about my project, something that moved me was one conversation that I had with one of the women. She lived in one of the indigenous communities that we were interviewing, and I asked her if it was hard to be asked these questions. She said “It’s my life, and I live it. So no, it’s not hard.” This answer really moved me. It made me think about the social realities that people live in every day, unrecognized and unknown to the world around. I’ve been so lucky to have been able to uncover a culture with deep roots, and I’m forever grateful to Siena for the opportunity.

    At TRIP, I have been working with the rental management team to implement a new rental payment system. While it has been a bit mundane at times, the coolest part about it is that I found one specifically designed to low-income tenants. It provides an option where tenants can actually pay their rent in cash, but build their credit score at the same time. It’s a really cool opportunity for the tenants to empower themselves, and propel their socio-economic status.


  26. Abby Hoekman says:

    At this time, I am working on a project with the manager of Restyle, the thrift store at Unity House, to create an online store. Being a partner on this project has been challenging and required a lot of research on how to create it, as well as the logistics of cost that it would require if the shop was to be run through bigger online stores such as ebay or shopify. Through this project, I am able to apply skills I have learned through Bonner such a time management. This project has a deadline in May, therefore, I have put to use my knowledge on forming an outline to schedule time and set small goals to increase productivity. The main skill I am learning through this process is patience. There is a lot of trial and error that has occurred in assessing the costs and demands of the varying sites. Additionally, there has been a few communication issues between other members of the team, which has helped me apply my skills of communication to try and ensure everyone is on the same page with each step of the process. These communication skills and increasing practice of patience will be highly beneficial to life at Siena during group projects. During life after Siena, these will be helpful for any given situation in my future career, whatever that may be.

  27. Alexis D'Aloia says:

    Currently at Unity House I am working with the Food Security Case Manager, Amy. For the past 4 weeks we have been participating in a webinar with other food pantries and food banks all across the U.S. and Canada. Each session is focused on a different aspect of the overall theme of the Food Bank Transformation Series course, which involves implementing Good Food Principles. The classes are entitled: Laying the Groundwork for Change, Implementing a New Mindset, Collecting the Information that you really Need while Reducing Stigma, and Communicating a New Approach. We have been reading different articles about other food pantries and their approach to their service, as well as participating in live discussions about each topic. We have done multiple “homework” assignments which include taking inventory of our pantry to phase out unhealthy foods, and brainstorming ways to improve our intake system for a more dignified experience. The communication skills I have learned while on the live streams with others around the country as well as one on one with Amy can definitely be applied to Bonner as well as life after Siena. It has allowed me to actively listen to other’s viewpoints and has taught me how to discuss matters in a professional way while also being respectful of others opinions. These skills will help me communicate better with those in Bonner as well as help me to succeed in future jobs.

    • Jamie del Rosario says:

      This is a really cool project Alexis. Keep up the good work, I’m excited to see how the webinar transforms your pantry.


    This semester I am taking part of three different projects in my site. I have taken the lead on curriculum and program coordinating at BGCA. I am currently working on Girls night, a program designated for the girls at the club to get to know one another and not see as each others enemies; to realize that they have a lot more in common than they think. I am also working on program planning for Lyricism 101; a music program that plans to introduce the teens to the entertainment business and all of its aspects. I am working hand in hand with a few staff members at the club and other bonners as well to make this program possible. I am also still working on Junior Bonner, a service learning program with the purpose to expose teens to the struggles and other aspects of the community they live in. I am not a one man in all of these programs, Our team consist of Laniqua, Ivory and the teen program staff members at BGCA. We all work best as a team because each and every single one of us performs tasks that are most related to ones strengths. This way we are more efficient as a team.

  29. Emma Henderschedt says:

    I have learned many leadership skills that will transfer into my life after Siena College. But mainly, my service as Bonner has greatly shaped my future path. I had no intention of going to law school coming into college, but it was my work at the District Attorney’s Office that really solidified this passion I have. I have been able to develop so many skills such as communication, research skills, legal knowledge, and victim rights information by serving at my site and this will all be beneficial in whatever my career path is after I graduate.
    Besides beginning to plan out my capstone, a project that I am working on right now is victim contact for cases that are being diverted to the Felony Youth Diversion Board, a restorative justice program that the Albany DA’s Office runs. This requires me to do intakes with victims, working to explain rights, articulate what the Diversion process looks like, and updating our online database that tracks all criminal cases. Through this project I have been able to learn more about the FYD and the importance of rights that victims have.
    Currently, my goal is to go to law school but I am planning on taking a year off to apply for Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Vietnam or to apply for the Americorp Vista program. However, whatever I end up doing, I will rely on the skills that Bonner has taught me as well as the passion it has started in me!

    • Jamie del Rosario says:

      Those sound like some really great goals! I’m excited to see how your Bonner-learned skills can help with some of those future endeavors.

  30. Andrew Tessman says:

    Currently, I am working with a few other members of my service site to create a stencil that will provide information as to accurate times and locations of the Veggie Mobile during the week. I am a member of a team here and there is a lot of work that needs to go in. Through the process you can see how each person’s role fits according to the next, and how each is dependent on the others. This is an important transferable skill due to the common occurrence of team work in the real world. Team work is important because most projects or tasks require the assistance or cooperation of others.

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