Tisch Active Citizenship COVER STORY
“You have to have a sound understanding of why you’re doing the work in order to do it well.”
Freeman arrived in midtown Manhattan this past summer with the charge of develop ing a 10-week educational program for underserved youth. A newcomer to New York City himself, he crafted a series of thoughtful field trips that took as many as 30 children between 8 and 12 years old to a wide range of venues informed by weekly themes, such as the environment and the arts. Destinations included Union Square farmers’ market, the Brooklyn Grange (home of the world’s largest rooftop farm), and an exhibition of Maurice Sendak’s art at the DiMenna Children’s History Museum. Freeman led the outings in his role as program coordinator for Summer in the City, a project of the Fiver Children’s Foundation, which has an ambitious agenda but a staff of only 10 people.
Will Freeman, A16
“I was given tremendous freedom and responsibility, and I really appreciated that,” he says. “I wanted to do real handson work, and because the Fiver Foundation is small, I had a chance to work closely with everyone. I could see what makes people feel so committed to Fiver.” The Fiver Children’s Foundation pledges 10 years of free, comprehensive support and personalized guidance to children who are referred by partner organizations. Children enter the year-round program at age 8 and graduate at age 18. The foundation takes its name from the young, intuitive rabbit in Richard Adams’s novel Watership Down. It is Fiver who, convinced of dangers ahead, leads a small band of rab bits to search for a better future in a new home. “Through my work with the youngest age group, I played a crucial role in bringing young children into the Fiver cul
Fiver Children’s Foundation, New York City
ture and preparing them for the years ahead at Fiver, which will certainly empower them,” says Freeman. “The 17- and 18-year-olds display a great degree of maturity and profes sionalism. Many are headed to college and clearly have the motivation to match their great ambitions.” Freeman, who expects to double major in international relations and political science, says working with Fiver also helped him explore why he’s drawn to active citizenship. “I’m motivated by a desire to learn and expand my per spectives, to build connections,” he says. “I love meeting and interacting with lots of different people. That’s something I’ve more clearly defined for myself, and it’s an important outcome that I will carry with me going forward. You have to have a sound understanding of why you’re doing the work in order to do it well.” —LF
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