Thinking Big Picture

Thinking Big Picture

October 2, 2018 Reflections from Changemakers 49

Now that you have begun to settle in at your sites for the year, let’s start thinking big picture. What is your dream project or goal for your site. What do you need to do to get there? Try using a SWOT analysis (see the example below) by listing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to achieving your goal.

49 Responses

  1. Emerald Power says:

    My dream for the Bonner Program at Siena would be to have more recognition on campus. Over my four years here the dynamic has grown and our on campus presence has changed immensely. I would love to see that continue to develop and for more involvement with other programs become more consistent!

  2. Monique Lawrence says:

    Green Tech’s strengths are that they are able to put all of their energy into their students and will find different ways to help them succeed. Also, the leadership team at the school is always out of the office and in the hallways connecting with the students and brainstorming ways to adapt to the quick changes that affect the students. For the Bonners, a strength is that the students want us to see them outside fo the classroom in terms of going the weekly assemblies and sports games.

    One of their weaknesses now is that one of the leadership team members left at the beginning of the school year and it seems like they are having a hard time finding a replacement for the member. Also, there was a lot of changes to the teachers and staff over the summer due to budget cuts and they are trying to still provide for the students and change the roles for certain staff to make up for the budget cuts.

    The opportunities that green tech has is to partner with some of the nonprofits in order to help the student complete their service learning hours. I was able to start a connection between Green tech and Captial Roots where a food bank can be started in the school and the students who do not have secure housing situations can have food to eat when there are long breaks or random days off.

    The threats are things that can be controlled like the many things that the students can be experiencing outside of school and the way that they were raised by their families to operating in life.

  3. Skylar Nijhawan says:

    My site is the Writing Center. My major goal is to create a writing center in every public Highschool in the state. I think this would be a fantastic way to fight illiteracy and bridge the gap between privilege and underprivileged education. Within New York highschools there is a serious lack in resources regarding public school education. I think by starting a writing center in Troy Prep will begin a larger dream of going into schools, creating a writing center, teaching them how to be a writing center, and allowing them to learn the skills needed to be self-sustaining. One thing I can definitely rely on upon my site is the support and extra hands that would be needed to begin to start this goal. Obviously, it would take many years to implement everything needed to begin helping high schools in the capital region develop writing centers and making them self-sustaining. However, we can make our part starting in some schools and eventually increasing. One way that we have not done is reach out to other colleges and see if they would like to assist in the process of bridging the gap in a public school education. Funding would definitely be something that could potentially hinder the goal, as well as getting into the school and acquiring the support from the schools themselves.

  4. Kate Callery says:

    In some ways, I still feel like I am settling into my site, which may be a weakness of mine. I’m learning about my roles and what is expected of me slowly. I am hoping that by doing this I will be able to be a more effective Bonner at my site. With that, one of my short-term goals is to really integrate into the community that exists at Catholic Charities. Long-term I would like to attach my academic passions to the work I am doing as well as integrate direct service in some way. My opportunity for this is that my supervisors are very open and helpful people. Which really enhances my working environment.

  5. Ecli Vazquez says:

    While I only been at my service site only for one semester I want to show how truly special Sunnyside truly is. To be honest I haven’t really started on any big projects ideas but I want to make a program that the kids can have fun with.

    Strengths- the kids will be become I’m engaged in different activities. That could change their view of the program for the better.
    Weakness- could possibly take a long time to implant. Also could have cost issues.
    Opportunities- Getting to know better the staff as well as the kids.
    Threats- I am not really sure of this

  6. Julia Fleming says:

    My dream project for Boys and Girls Club is creating a Spanish Club! This year I am determined to start this project (as long as my site supervisor thinks it’s a good idea)! Right now, I have one lesson planned out. For the first club meeting we will learn how to say different colors in Spanish! I thought painting and color bingo would be two fun activities to kick off the year. One of my strengths is having the best site team ever! Special shout-out to Lily for looking over my first lesson plan!! I have never created a lesson plan so this is definitely going to be one of my weaknesses. For opportunities, I really need to present my proposal to my site supervisor. Finally, my biggest threat/risk is making Spanish club seem like additional work. I really want the kids to have fun while learning about language and culture.

    B-LOVE, <3

  7. Nia Colon says:

    This is only my first year as a Bonner but I am at the Boys and Girls Club of Albany. I do not have a set goal for my service site just yet. My service site leader told me to explore and get to know the kids better. I have some ideas but they are not official yet. I am thinking about a cooking club or arts and crafts club. I need supervision and just basic supplies for each project. I think the only threat that I would have is that the children would not enjoy the programs that I planned. I know that I am good with kids so that helps me a lot. I think if the kids really like it then it can really be a success.

  8. Kevin Ziobrowski says:

    This is my second year working at capital roots, specifically working on the healthy stores program. After one year of work, at capital roots, I believe that a dream project possibility would be some sort of facilitation between the farmers market and Capital Roots. The presence of the Troy Famers Market clearly demonstrates that there is a demand for fresh local produce, and with Capital Roots’ upcoming expansion, maybe there could be a more permanent venue for farmers to sell their produce. If people within troy are demanding this kind of product on a weekly basis, it is not far to assume it could be a daily demand. This could provide the inner city population with better food access, while stimulating the local economy. A weakness however could be that there is not a strong enough demand for this type of product.

  9. Sydney Maughan says:

    Being that I’ve only been at TRIP for a few weeks now, I haven’t been exposed to the many different “departments” it has. But, my dream goal at TRIP would be to be involved in a project that concerns the financial aspects of the organization. I want to be able to immerse myself into the financial department specifically because I’m majoring in Business; Accounting and Finance and I want to become more exposed to the different types of work (concerning business) To get to my dream goal I think I need to finishing adjusting to the new atmosphere and learn about where they best see fit for me, here at TRIP.
    Strengths of my organization include all the different departments and aspects it includes. There also are many people at my site that I can learn from and look at as role models.
    Weaknesses include not being surrounded more with the financial aspects of a business. For the most part my service site is amazing, but I did hope that I would be involved more with the financial parts of the organization, to see how non profits work.
    Opportunities to push my organization forward that I haven’t yet taken include voicing out any of my ideas or opinions because I don’t feel that it’s my place to say those things.
    Threats/things that could get in the way of me achieving my goals include; not being able to voice my opinion about the kind of things I want to be involved in. Since I started at my service site, I’ve always felt like I’m just doing things that someone at a front desk would do. They’re things that need to get done, but aren’t very relevant or important to the overall organization. After talking to upper clansmen though, I learned it could be normal to start off at your site doing these types of “projects”.

  10. Alexee Seifert says:

    My site is Castle Island Bilingual Montessori School is at a new location this year and this my first year as a Bonner . So i honestly don’t know what my overall goal would be due to my lack of being there . The school’s library is a big process and that is a big goal i have to finish it . It is not ready yet because there is still alot to be done. One of my goals for my site would be to finish the castle Island library . Honestly my goal would be to help make castle island better in any way possible ! I want the school to grow in any way possible . Some ways i could do this would be fundraising and completeing small tasks to complete a bigger overall task . Also i would do this by advertising for donations or any other businesss that would be beneficial to castle island . A strength i have is knowing the area and being good with kids which will be very beneficial to castle island . A weaknesss i will have is time but i will work on time management to get it done .

  11. Kiara Woodward says:

    At my site, Green Tech, I feel as if there is a lot of amazing opportunities for the students to take part in. The main problem is usually motivating students to take advantage of these opportunities. I’m not 100% sure what my dream project is. I would want it to be useful, sustainable, while also capturing the interest of the students. That has proved to be a harder hurdle than expected. Loosely applying SWOT to my site I see some strengths in the amazing opportunities staff makes available to students. A weakness is definitely that all opportunities are not taken advantage of and it is not always from a lack of interest. Some factors like transportation, jobs, or other commitments can play a role in students missing events. Developing programs like NHS, days of service, after school programs, and clubs are all things that Green Tech is either working toward or hope to work toward. Some threats would be potentially funding for programs, transportation to events off of school grounds, and student interest.

    Happy Fall!


  12. Shelby Doren says:

    My goal for the semester at Capital Roots is to become more computer savvy. Since my transition over to the marketing team I have had to know more and more about computers, which I have never been very good with technology. Keeping SWOT in mind my strengths that I can bring to this is my drive to learn and succeed; without this I feel like I wouldn’t be as ready and able to overcome this hurdle. My weaknesses are clearly my lack or computer skills. The opportunities that I can take advantage of here is when I become comfortable on a computer I will be a more valuable member of the team and will have skill sets others may not possess. Threats that I face are not making deadlines for things because I am still learning how to use the different feature of the computer.
    I believe I can achieve this goal and I will be better for it. I can use these skills to be more useful to Capital Roots in my future projects with them.

    – Shelby

  13. A'Livija Mullins-Richard says:

    I have a few ideas for what I would like to do for the Produce Project at Capital Roots. However, I still have yet to learn all there is to know about the Produce Project. (In order to do this, next semester, I plan to schedule my service hours during the hours that the kids are there.)
    The Produce Project is geared toward providing life and job skills to increase employment and education opportunities for the youth of Troy. This also allows for them to gain math and science skills while working hands on on the farm. They can then apply these skills to their work in the classroom at school.

    While at Capital Roots, I would like to implement more of a curriculum to develop their math and science skills. At Troy High, most students struggle in earth science and math courses. In addition, most of the students I have interacted with at the Produce Project don’t like school or aren’t really engaged. I believe that by incorporating more math and science at the Produce Project would benefit the students because it mimics a small classroom environment allowing for them to get the attention that they need and I think they would get a kick out of getting paid to learn haha. This way, even though most of them do not like school, they may find it easier to engage because they will have learned these academic skills and have been able to apply it to their work at Capital Roots.

    I would also like to have a bit more structure for the students. The students aren’t always so respectful to one another and we recently had a field trip where the students were extremely disrespectful to the hosts.I’m not 100% sure about the most effective way to go about this but I think having more conversations with the students, teaching them workplace etiquette, and being more strict with them will help. I think our big issue now is the rules aren’t really effective and “discipline” is not being put into action.

    Lastly, the leaders for Produce Project change throughout the years and a lot of files are very unorganized. I plan to organize these in a way that’s easy to follow for the future leaders of Produce Project to use.

  14. Maddie Kousoulas says:

    My biggest goal at Troy School 2 would have to be making an impact on the people that I work with whether it be by making their day brighter or by giving them new, inventive ideas to help with curriculum or students in general. With the other Girl Scout leaders as well as the support of administrators, teachers, and the parents, I really believe that this goal can be accomplished. What my site has is numerous pathways that you can take in order to help the community; right now I am working with a 3rd through 5th special education class on top of working with counselors, school psychologists, the after school program, and Girl Scouts. I am able to get to see each part of the school in different ways which can only help my influence. One of the struggles that we are facing is that because the school went under major construction over the summer, we were set back for meetings and could not even enter the school for a period of time. We are really pushing to have our first meeting this week. I really want to continue working with the special education class and to hopefully be able to go into the K through 2 class; they are going through transition right now after a teacher left, so I have not been able to visit with them. I really want to get to know the school dynamic and by being with other age groups, I will be able to come to a better understanding of it. Due to us being in a school, there are a lot of restrictions towards what we can and cannot do as we are not certified teachers nor counselors. I want to be able to really have an impact on these kids and I worry sometimes that because I rotate so much and because I do not get to have a lot of power, that the kids will not get my full potential.

  15. Lulama Nyembe says:

    I don’t feel as though I have fully settled into my site yet, so I am not entirely sure as to what it is they needed from me. As of late, there has only been one primary focus. However, there is one project I am currently hoping to complete. And that would be to find a way that would make tracking our field workers’ hour logs and their projects that is digital and easily accessible. Seeing as how TRIP has such an amazing cohort of employees who are all very dedicated and passionate about what they do along with the community they serve, it will be easy to find someone willing to help with any hiccups along the way. A weakness would be that I do not yet feel as though I have acquired enough knowledge about how things are done in the organisation. Opportunity would be that there are many outside resources that are readily available if necessary. A possible threat to this achieving this project is the fact that it is a joint project and there has not been frequent communication with the other person who is working on this project.

  16. Brendan Weingarten Savage says:

    One dream project I have for my site is to be able to make certain programs more sustainable, flexible and community-involved. For instance, a lot of the programs that we have are heavily reliant on full-time staff, such as the Community Accountability Board. Because of this, there is often a rigid structure in terms of how meetings are run and the outcomes that arise from a defendant going through the CAB process. While some defendants go through CAB really learning their lesson, others seem to just be going through the motions in order to avoid criminal charges. One reason I think this might happen is that there is a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to assigning tasks to defendants. Essays, apology letters, and community service are three of the most common tasks assigned, likely because that’s the way it’s always been. The first two are often helpful because they are reflective, and make the defendant think about their actions and who they impacted. But unless it is a letter to the person affected, the victim of the crime might not feel any better. The latter, community service hours, is supposed to help “repair the harm to the community” which in theory makes sense. Although, in practice, a person who has shoplifted from a store might not see how they are repairing harm by working at the food bank, and might just see this as a lighter “punishment”.

    At my site, I think the staff has an opportunity make the board more sustainable by giving board members more leeway in running meetings. This would be especially helpful because there has recently been turnover in outreach office staff that were hands-on and heavily involved in guiding board meetings. This turnover is reflected at the main office as well, where there are new Assistant D.A.’s who may not be as familiar with existing restorative justice programs. I would like to help out in making sure that new staff members become well-versed in what programs are available for defendants.

    I also think there needs to be a better effort to involve the victim in the process. This can be harder to do when the “victim” is a Walmart store that has been stolen from, but I think there should be a good-faith effort among staff to reach out to any potential victims to see if they would like to be included in the process. Finally, I think there should be an effort to make each board meeting diverse in thought when scheduling which handful of board members are there – I always think that disagreement among the board has often allowed for compromise. Board members who are police officers often ask for more hours of community service for a defendant, while those who are regular city residents would rather see them reflect on their actions. I think allowing this diversity of opinion has always shaped a positive result when tasks are assigned to a defendant.

  17. Rayan Omer says:

    My site is at the Writing Center and my goal is that I wish to see a writing center in ever local public school. During my time serving the Writing Center, I can see one of our greatest strengths is the people who work there. It’s a nice and friendly environment where no one can be afraid to be themselves or speak up about their ideas. Another strength is that we all work well with one another. A weakness we have is I guess finding the time in our schedules to plan and get organized. We all have different schedules so it’s hard at times finding time in a week to discuss what needs to be done. Regardless we still make it work! Not only that but our schedules are mainly revolved around the schedules of the schools we are working with. Some opportunities we have this year is that we may be working with Troy Prep and helping them establish a writing center within the school. This will give us a new relationship to build with the school. I believe some of our biggest threats this year will be the budget. I know we had some budget cuts earlier in the year, so finding ways to get some more funds will be a goal in mind. Also for me to find a way to balance school, service, and my personal life will be a challenge at times if I wish to complete my goal.

  18. Andrew Tessman says:

    What is your dream project or goal for your site. What do you need to do to get there by listing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to achieving your goal.

    My dream goal for my site is to continue working on healthy streets initiatives and ultimately complete as many complete streets bump outs as possible (in all areas desired by local municipalities, and areas needed). The few bumps outs that have been created so far have been very beneficial for the community and very well received by the community.
    In terms of a more critical analysis:
    Strengths: Whole non-profit and community supports these initiatives
    Weaknesses: Implementation are weather and time dependent, there are some who don’t understand and make a stink.
    Opportunities: These bump outs will really push Capital Roots’ name to the forefront of the community
    Threats: Timing, non-understanding citizens, vandalism

  19. Kenia Ramirez says:

    I am currently at TRIP and ST. Anne Institute. This year my major project for TRIP is my capstone. I am working on researching the relationship between moving a lot and its impact on children’s academic success. This research will be used for grants and advocating for relationships between TRIP and local schools. Strengths: This research will fill in a gap in the research field.

    My dream project for ST. Anne’s is to plan a college fair for the girls in the shelter and the youth in residential. I am hoping to work with the other interns and my field supervisor to make this happen. This fair would help the girls start thinking about their future and the options they have.
    Strengths: Clients will be exposed to new opportunities
    Weakness: This has never been done and the girls from the different programs cannot be at the fair at the same time, thus, it might be difficult to plan.

  20. Meghan Conboy says:

    I am still adjusting to my new site, Community Miracles in Action. Right now, my site supervisor and I are working on implementing a program based around youth-driven social innovation/entrepreneurship to encourage youth to identify social issues impacting their community and create technology to address these issues. This is a relatively new idea that has been evolving and changing over the last few weeks, but I can’t wait to see where it goes!

    Strengths – We have really strong leadership – organization president and a VISTA – at CMA, who are both so creative and willing to try anything! CMA also has a lot of support from the Cohoes community.
    Weaknesses – CMA is a relatively new site (the Headquarters opened last March), so we’re still trying to get our footing in terms of what our goals are. Right now, we’re working towards a youth-driven social innovation/entrepreneurship model to encourage youth to identify social issues impacting their community and create technology to address these issues. This framework is different from how CMA started, as a drop-in center and makerspace, but I’m excited to see where it goes!
    Opportunities – Networking with other nonprofits who engage in teen programming, technology, and social activism. We are also looking at different STEM-related grants and other funding sources. Eventually, depending on the direction this program goes, I think that the CURCA Lab or STACK Center may end up being good resources.
    Threats – We have had issues with youth participation in our drop-in center, which is partly why we’re exploring different avenues for CMA. Youth involvement is my biggest concern thus far.



  21. Nancy Rasmussen says:

    Within the short amount of time I have been at Troy School 2 I have absolutely fell in love with it. For my entire life I have wanted to pursue a career in education because helping and inspiring others to reach their greatest potential has always been something that has intrigued me. These young girls, as I have seen from my visits to the school, see us not only friends, but role models as well. It is inspiring and heartwarming to see that what I am doing is really making a difference in these girls’ lives. Being absolutely in love with dance and dancing for a very long time, one big project that I would love to see unroll is a big dance performance that the girls put on. The strengths we have at School 2 is the remarkable support from the staff. Candace really pushes for these girls to remain active so this is a perfect opportunity to do just that! One weakness of this project would be finding time to practice, but also hold meetings as well. From what I have heard, the girls love to dance so this would be a great opportunity to really showcase their talent and love for dance. A threat would be funding for costumes and stage lights. I am extremely excited to see where this goes!!

  22. Isabella Barone says:

    I have been at Mercy House for a few weeks now, and I’ve learned a lot about the needs we meet at my site. An overarching goal for my site would have to be to expand our capacity for dealing with clients of varying backgrounds and to expand to another shelter if possible. We are the only women’s only shelter in the area, and I think it would help not only the functioning of my shelter but the women we serve to provide more options for shelter for them. I would want to look staff capacity building and the creation of another shelter if possible as to provide the best opportunities for all involved. Although I’ve only been there a few weeks, after talking with the case manager I strongly believe that this could help my site flourish because, as the only women’s shelter, we are under a lot of pressure to accommodate as many people as possible and to do that we need to build our capacity and, if that’s not enough, expand so that these women can get the support they need to help themselves. While I doubt this goal will be achieved any time soon, I believe that it would be possible because the staff all are there to help. We have to be flexible and that flexibility will help us going forwards in whatever we do. However, we also undergoing a process of dealing with many changes at this time, and we are regularly close to full with clients, making things difficult to expand into other ventures. I hope that I can implement this dream in some shape or form within my four years at Mercy House if only to us run as efficiently and helpfully as possible.

  23. Megan Jones says:

    Within the past three years, Girl Scouts has gone through many significant changes and progress that has made it, now, more organized than ever before. We are involved in more than an after school program that supports young women, but we are involved in the day to day lives of the students of School 2 by working with them in the classrooms. One big project that I would like to see happen for Girl Scouts is cookie sales and camping. They both happen in during the spring semester and are essential to the Girl Scout program so I know that once that time comes, it will have to be our main focus. The strengths we have a School 2 are the incredible amount of resources and support we have from the faculty and administraton. A weakness would be that we haven’t been able to host a camping trip within our three years at the site so we don’t have much experience with arranging an event like that. We also might run into issues with girls and permission slips as well as parents and transportation. We have a lot of opportunities to really get the girls engaged as we have a small group of 3rd through 5th graders so it’s an easy group to work with. A threat would definitley be funding since we aren’t a club anymore. I hope to do at least a fun outdoor activity with the Girl Scouts in addition to our cookie sales and bridging ceremony that we hold at the end of every year. I know with what we have planned that this year is going to be incredible and I can’t wait to see how everything turns out with our amazing team and girls!

  24. Andraya Perez says:

    This year I am really excited to be working as a PA and at BGCA. I love both the positions I have and I am really enjoying both of the work I have been doing. This year with the new PA mentorship system I get to work with Ivory and Lily to make BGCA the best it can be! We are having a monthly meeting as a Site to discuss what we can be doing better.

    Strength: helping underclassmen decide the programs they want to start, multiple opinions to grow more as a site
    Weakness: we can not be on the same page, dreaming too big
    Opportunities: working with other Bonners, lead to leadership development, getting a closer relationship with the staff at BGCA
    Threats: I don’t think there is any

  25. Tristan Hunzinger says:

    My big-picture goal for my site is to establish a workshop for college essay writing/revising for the students who are working on their college applications. I have found that all the students at Green Tech have great potential and very creative ideas, so with some grammatical critique and revisions they can all have excellent college essays to help them get into their desired schools. In order to achieve this, I will have to work with staff members to figure out when the best time/times for this workshop would be, and also give an incentive for the students to attend. The strength I have at my site is my ability to communicate with the staff members—they have all been helpful and supportive thus far. My weakness is that I have not had a chance to meet all of the students in the senior class yet, and this might create a challenge in how they perceive any critiquing I might have for their essays. Overall, I am excited to become more engaged in the Green Tech community and to follow through with this plan!

  26. Liliana Sanchez Adames says:

    This year, I am super excited because finally I will be able to actually implement the dance program at the afterschool program for the Boys and Girls Club and will also tag team with Ivory to finally launch the the keystone program for the teen program at the club as well. Although I am confident that both these programs are amazing and with great potential to impact the youth in a positive way. I do know there will be some challenges will have to face. One of them is getting the interest of the teens and kids for the program. Another challenge is the support of the staff at the club which is now improving but sometimes not as reliable because they always have other things to do and running around which is understandable them being a non-profit. But I just have to learn to be more self-dependent. Some opportunities are using the resources given to me by the ACE family such as ideas with workshops and organizing events and such. I feel like my challenges are the same things that are potential threats to my programs along with myself. I feel as if sometimes, I am my own threat and need to push myself all the time to keep giving 110% and I know that is something I have to work on. But regardless, I am very excited for this new year and all the projects and opportunities ahead at the club.

  27. Dana Wakeman says:

    I am not sure what my dream project at my site is yet, my goal is to determine what I could do to best understand the needs of the site. I have learned about how the site works by learning both about case management position and the resident advisor position. In order to get there, I will be using what I learned to identify potential needs of my site. Additionally, I will be talking with them to determine what is best for them. A strength of this site and of this goal is that there are many components involved in the site, so there may be multiple options that I could explore. Therefore, I will work towards figuring out what my project for the year will be and how I can best address the needs of my site.

  28. Thomas Ruhl says:

    As a PA, my dream project is to build a strong ACE alumni network. We’ve got alumni doing amazing things all over the country, but we really don’t have much communication with them. They could be a great resource for our current students in terms of mentoring and networking. I’ve already started doing this at my site this semester by laying some foundations for an alumni network, and have been trying to stay in touch with some of our alumni through an email list. Some strengths of having an alumni network would be networking mentoring, and making sure the b-love and the Bonner family continues well after graduation. Weaknesses are that some alumni are hard to stay in touch with, and not everyone wants to stay involved after they graduate. Opportunities with this project would be better overall alumni relations, that could potentially lead to some more money for Siena’s Bonner program through alumni donations. I think the biggest threat to this project is simply the size of it. It will probably take years to get the alumni network to be where I think it can be, so I hope the project is continued after I graduate.

  29. Justin Kenyon says:

    This is my first semester with CPI. If I was still at TRIP, this probably would be a different story. However, with CPI my dream project would be to go back to my first sight TRIP, and do policy research for them. Back when I told them that I was leaving for CPI. Christine and others at TRIP had much interest in doing a project with CPI. This would only be possible if we are able to find a feasible project to do, instead of just finding a project and doing it just because I want to work with the organization.

  30. Nicole Pazarecki says:

    This is my second year at TRIP and I have a couple of ideas for this coming year. I want to improve the social media of TRIP and come up with new ideas and posts to bring attention to TRIP. But a dream project for me would be to partner for habitat for humanity and start a program where families can get furniture or home goods for there newly bought home. I feel like this would take a lot of time and planning, but I think it would be a great program for TRIP and Habitat for Humanity to team up. A weakness I think would be miscommunication between the two non-profits.

    -Nicole Paz

  31. Hayley Pijanowski says:

    What is your dream project or goal for your site. What do you need to do to get there? Try using a SWOT analysis (see the example below) by listing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to achieving your goal.

    A project that I would like to implement at TRIP would be a clean homes initiative for our TRIP tenants. One of my tasks at TRIP is to go out on inspections with one of our rental managers. These are yearly inspections that happen every fall, so it is my third year going out on inspections. One of the main issues is upkeep of the house and cleanliness. For a lot of our young tenants, it is their first time living on their own and they may not know the best practices for taking care of it. All of our older buildings have been updated, but sometimes there are problems out of their control. TRIP is really accommodating for Bonners and I know that this initiative could be carried out. One weakness/threat is that TRIP and also myself have a lot going on and may not be able to devote all the time needed to bring this project to fruition.

  32. Michael Averill says:

    Since my site, Castle Island Bilingual Montessori School is at a new location this year not everything has been completely organized. The school’s library currently consists of piles of books that we have sorted by topic on the ground with a few empty bookshelves along the walls. It is not in operation yet because there is still so much work to be done. My dream goal for my site is to create a library that is an incredible learning space for the students of Castle Island. As a bilingual school, the library offers books in both English and Spanish. I would like to promote this dual immersion of languages even further by raising money to buy more books that are bilingual so the children can read the same stories in both languages. Some of the books that we currently have are worn-down, broken, or just outdated in content. The heart of a library is within its resources, so I think it is very important that we have a mixture of classics along with modern stories in both English and Spanish. On top of raising money for new books, funds could also very well be used to improve the ambiance of the library. I think one of the library’s weaknesses is that it does not have an inviting feel for the students. I would love to see the dull lighting changed out for something much brighter, and the addition of comfy chairs and rugs would be very helpful in order to make the room feel like a safe place. Lastly, I would like to start an accelerated reader program at the school, where students will be given incentives to read for fun. The threat to my goal of improving the library of course lies in the form of funding. However, I will continue my work in public relations for the school and hopefully I can gain sponsors that will be supportive and will help me achieve my goal for Castle Island which is to provide students with a library that will be an incredible space to learn and grow.

  33. Danielle Dreyer says:

    While working with Capital Roots the past few weeks, I have really gotten to know the great team and how exactly they help out the community. One thing that I noticed about Capital Roots is that each of their programs is what really embodies Capital Roots as a whole. Each program has dedicated and hardworking staff, and this shows through the amount of participants they get. One thing that I think would be a good project or addition to Capital Roots is a stronger internet and media presence. In such a media driven society, I feel that they could greatly benefit from their own smart phone friendly app. Through this, people can have even easier access to Capital Roots and their programs, such as ordering from the Virtual Veggie Mobile, making a donation, watching recipe tutorials, tracking the Veggie Mobile, etc. To achieve this, it would cost a lot to program the app and get it accessible to the public. With this, another weakness or struggle may be that people may not have the opportunity to own a smart phone/device, so this may not be useful to them. The Capital Roots team also has a lot on their plate most of the time, so finding time to work with them on this kind of thing would definitely be a struggle- however, it also has the possibility to make managing all of their programs easier for them and the community. I feel that the kind of accessibility an app can bring to the community will benefit Capital Roots by helping them grow their programs, outreach, and internet presence, and benefit the community by making it more accessible and easier for them.

    • Jamie del Rosario says:

      I think an app is a great idea! I would definitely think about proposing this to your supervisor.

  34. Jamie del Rosario says:

    My number one project as a Program Associate right now is creating a communications plan for our ACE social media plans. One of the strengths of this project is the fact that I am currently taking a strategic communications course that teaches us how to build successful and message-based plans. A weakness is the fact that I am currently working solo, but I have proposed the idea of an ACE-wide committee. An opportunity would be student takeovers and spotlights, while a threat would be lack of content.

  35. Gregory Winkelstern says:

    My dream project to work on for my site would be a financial literacy program. I find financial literacy something that is overlooked way too often. Is it never too late for adults to begin correcting poor habits to make better decisions. I would like to begin fighting the problem at the source however, which is educating the youth. I would really like to see the youth enter into their adult lives with better financial skills than people do today. I would begin to tackle this task by creating a financial literacy education program that myself and others could use to teach.
    My strengths for this task would be the large, diverse population of workers at TRIP. This would really help me put together a quality program. TRIP is also really flexible and open to ideas so I think they would really be open to helping me do this. My weaknesses for this task would be how busy each worker already is and finding the time to feed this task. A great opportunity is how large the TRIP network is. There are many people attached to the organization in one way or another and this could really help in getting something new launched. A threat towards this task may be addressing each individual’s or family’s needs.

  36. shaylaencarnacion says:

    My major project this year, which is also my capstone, is to create a corporate volunteer program for Catholic Charities. I have been at Catholic Charities since my freshmen year and I have learned everything about volunteers at my site. I am happy that in my final year here I am able to bring together everything I’ve learned and create an important program for them. This program is crucial to their 100th anniversary campaign which includes the creation of the Volunteer Corps program – which the corporate volunteer program will be under. Although this project is very important to my senior year, it is also basically the only thing I’m doing at service. While at service I am doing a lot of research, interviewing, and working collaboratively with my site supervisor.
    Strengths – it is my capstone so I am more inclined to make sure I complete the project and make it efficient
    Weaknesses – I am not really doing any other projects with my site because of this and how important it is
    Opportunities – this allows me more time on my project and is allowing me to collaborate with local corporations for interviews
    Threats – the time I have available might not be enough to finish the project. I want to actually implement it, but I might just be able to create the framework for it

    Overall, I am extremely happy with what I am doing. The pace of my project is moving along smoothly. I hope that I am able to fully complete it and make the program efficient and sustainable.


  37. Abby Hoekman says:

    I have a few goals and projects I would currently like to pursue at Unity House. I am not sure what program I want to put my time and energy into this year so I am planning to interview the Human Resource Department as well as the PROS program, which assists people with mental illness gain the resources they need. Once I do this, I am hoping to figure out where my interest lies and work more closely with that department. Although, I would be unable to work directly with PROS clients because everything is confidential. The many programs and departments available at Unity House is definitely a strength of my site. I also have a dream project of working with Restyle to set up at pop-up shop at Siena. This is a goal I developed last year but definitely want to begin planning this year. However, the majority of the work I do is based in development and since Meg has moved sites, there has been a great deal of added responsibility and tasks to manage in the development office, which is ultimately the reason I have been unable to work towards my goals thus-far. I am concerned that the needs of development are so high that I will not have the opportunity to work with other departments or expand my horizons at Unity. However, my site supervisor has exposed me to new opportunities of attending and developing trainings for Unity House employees through the development office. Although this is not a personal goal or project I had in mind going into this year, if I keep an open mind I know there are many skills I can gain through this experience as well.

    Hope all of you are doing well!

  38. Alexis D'Aloia says:

    I’m not exactly sure what my dream project for this year is, but my goal is to move towards working more with children at Unity House. Because it is only the beginning of the semester, I am not quite sure what this will entail. Regarding the SWOT analysis, some strengths at Unity House are the fact that it has a child care program and therefore this allows me to actually have a population of children to serve with. Some weaknesses are that the program only targets pre-school aged kids, and therefore finding work to do with older kids or teenagers may be difficult at UH, if this is something I would want to do. I have the opportunity to get started with some child-related research and projects at Unity House, I just have to make it clear to my site supervisor that it is something I am definitely interested in so that they can provide me with the tools I need to get started. There are definitely some threats at my site currently, especially with not having an older site team leader there for Abby and I. On top of our projects, we are now in the process of learning how to be in that leadership position together and have to take on more responsibility. Additionally, Unity House’s pre-school program is located at a different site, and therefore it may be more difficult to work with the program while also working on smaller projects in their main building. Juggling between the two locations may hinder my progress.

    Happy October!!

  39. Emma Henderschedt says:

    My senior year Bonner site is a-typical this year since I am at my social work field placement for 400 hours this year, so I am only at the DA’s Office for limited time each week…however I am still engaging in social justice related work at both sites. For social work, I am at the Albany WAGE Center. This organization provides career counseling services for low income individuals of Albany. One project that I would like to see implemented is creating a group that participants could join that would make the isolating feelings of being unemployed seem a little less sad. The goal for the group would be to work on professional development with the participants so they are job ready by the time the group sessions end.
    Strengths: This is a major need from the community our organization serves, we have the space & computers needed for this group work, staff are well trained
    Weaknesses: The population we serve struggles with committing to dates/times for appointments and often do not show up. Getting consistency of attendance may be hard
    Opportunties: Collaborating with other non-profits, combining resources, or even reaching out to parole to do training with them since many of the clients we serve have criminal records and that serves a barrier for them being able to obtain employment.
    Threats: Low attendance, transportation concerns with people getting to our office, and lack of motivation from clients.

    I am hoping that senior year will more clearly combine by social work major, my pre law certificate, my social work internship, and my capstone into one clear passion. I have seen my passion adapt as I engage in more experiences and am very excited to see where it goes.

    B-Love to my fellow Change-makers,

  40. Samantha Gisleson says:

    My site is Capital Roots. Now that I have been serving at my site for a few weeks I have been able to learn more about what my site truly does for the people of the Capital Region. Capital Roots is a non-profit organization that consists of several different food outreach programs. Although Capital Roots has done wonders in bringing sustainable and healthy foods to the people of this region, if I had to think of a way in which it could improve I would say that it would be to expand its efforts beyond the Capital Region. My “big picture” goal for Capital Roots would be for it to pair with other food outreach programs nationally and internationally to educate these groups on the successes and failures of Capital Roots, so that other regions can have food outreach programs such as Squash Hunger, one of Capital Roots most known or popular programs. When I think of the strengths of Capital Roots I think of the amazing people who work and volunteer there and make all of these wonderful programs a reality. The employees and volunteers of Capital Roots have a wide variety of contacts and resources, which is something that I feel would help in working towards my inceptive, or goal. However, I think one weakness that Capital Roots has is that the organization may not be big enough to take on the task of expanding beyond the Capital Region. Capital Roots already has a lot on its plate, so although I would love to see my goal put into action, I do not know if it is feasible at this time. One opportunity that could arise from working towards this goal is the new connections and relationships Capital Roots could make. However, a threat is that taking on such a hefty goal, of expanding, may overwhelm the organization and undermine its underlying and original purpose. I am truly excited to continue serving at Capital Roots. I cannot wait to see how serving there will shape me, but also how my service will help to shape and improve the organization!

    • Danielle Dreyer says:

      Sam I think this is a great idea!! It would definitely be awesome if they had the opportunity to expand beyond the Capital District Region, or at least inspire other related non-profits to pick up the programs Capital Roots has to offer!

  41. Alyssa Lofaro says:

    Last year at my site I was mainly involved in recruitment, and would carry around a giant black binder filled with applications and interview sheets! My dream project (and it would be a big one!) is going “digital” with all things recruitment! Now that admissions is going paperless, I feel that it could be easier for us to go paperless as well.
    Strengths- being environmentally friendly, having a digital record of everything, easier to find in the future.
    Weaknesses- potentially losing a file, long process to put everything online, having a computer during an interview might make it more nerve racking for the student being interviewed
    Opportunities- Working with admissions to see what software they are using to go paperless and what positives or negatives they have had using it.
    Threats- I am not really sure of this

  42. Marlie Frisco says:

    At my site, I have recently started creating a safety protocol for the school. I have been actively visiting local schools throughout the Capital Region. My site supervisor is extremely willing to work with me on this project as she has supported and attended all of the school visits. Because she is so willing to help and make sure this gets accomplished, I think it is easier to stay focused and stay on track to finish it. The weaknesses within this situation are that we are now at a new location and are seeking out the best procedures and protocol. Neither I nor my site supervisor fully know the building and its safety capabilities. Ultimately, this will push my organization forward because it will allow us to promote to new families the safety and security of the school and also prove the resources we have worked on. It is a very specifically tailored project and its molded to our students, building, and location in Albany. The possible threats in this situation is forgetting something or not having the funds to have outside security people look at the school.

  43. Grace Harris says:

    I love the energy at my site and what an amazing team I have working with me. I love the enthusiasm and creative ideas that they bring and they always give 100%. I also love what we get back from the Girl Scouts and other students.One thing we could work on with the school is organization, our site just underwent construction and we are struggling with that and getting what we need to be an successful troop as well as runing efficient meetings. We have a lot of great opportunites for growth and we have upcoming events such a winter wonderland and cookie sales, events that require growth and challenges for the whole team. We have issues with the attitudes of Girl Scouts sometimes but we try and move forward and readjust so we can make it enjoyable for both parties

    • kayla ginger sweet says:

      Gracie girl it sounds like you all have many great things in place at Girl Scouts! I think it’s also really important how you are recognizing your teams challenges so you can move forward with them in mind to build the best environment for your team and your girls!

  44. Amelia Butler says:

    For the last 3 semesters, I have been working on the Cut Product line at Capital Roots. I have gotten to see this project grow from the beginning trial phases to actually being marketed to the public and then the adjustments that came along with it. At this point, my dream would be to find a way to revamp and expand this product line. We have been doing the same few items for almost two year because that is what the store owners and wholesale customers want to buy. We trialed a few seasonal products with varying levels of success, and we have even started a produce rescue initiative to cut up, in house, produce that might not be pretty enough to sell as is. My goal is to find a few alternatives to the same three things we have been doing that will actually stick and sell. I think this will take a lot more trial and error. Using a SWOT analysis, I would say that some strengths of this project is the amount of staff and volunteer support behind it as well as the solid store and wholesale orders we count on each and every week. Weaknesses would include the lack of a permanent staff member working on this. I can work on Cut Product when I am at Capital Roots, and there are staff members and volunteers that help out, but there is just not enough time in the 8 hours a week that I am there to get everything done that I would like to, especially if we are thinking about expansion. Another weakness would be that doing trial runs of various products takes a long time before we have enough information to make a decision about a product, and, if a product isn’t successful, it could be a waste of money and other resources. As far as opportunities go, there are so many different product options out there that we could try. The possibilities are pretty much endless. There are also so many ways that we could take this product line and market it to the public. As far as threats go, the only real threat I can think of is produce costs rising to a point where Cut Product is not longer possible because of production costs. We had an issue about a year ago with the prices of cauliflower almost tripling over night, and we still have not been able to really bring it back into Cut Product in a cost-effective way. Hopefully, with all of the support at Capital Roots and in the ACE office, I will be able to see this expansion through successfully.

    B-Love Always,

    • kayla ginger sweet says:

      Amelia, this is so fantastic! The products you and your team at Capital Roots are bringing to Troy serve as real examples of progress towards healthy options for community members. The time spent making sure you’re providing the best products is just another demonstration of the commitment Capital Roots has to Troy!

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