Niara Nelson joins the AFF staff as this year’s summer intern. Learn more about her below.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a 21-year-old from Brooklyn, NY and a rising junior transferring to Columbia University this fall. My interest lies in multicultural psychology. I love to hear about the human experience in different forms and why people behave the way they do in specific contexts. This is my first time learning about philanthropy and social change in such a unique capacity. In the past, I have worked with food justice on an urban farm. I have also benefited from direct service organizations such as Prep for Prep, and a capacity building organization, Ladders for Leaders. Ladders for Leaders is a component of the Summer Youth Employment Program which is run by the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development.
What do you like most about your internship at AFF?
I am fascinated to see another side of social justice and social change and I am curious how this knowledge will evolve throughout the summer. I am excited to learn more about the amazing work AFF’s community of grantees has accomplished and how this work has impacted many people’s day-to-day lives. I know that whether it is direct service, advocacy, community organizing or capacity building, together you are all making incredible strides towards that just and sustainable change we all believe in.
I appreciate working in service of AFF’s mission as well as their grantee partners’ because I know, from experience, that changing one person’s perspective can change an entire community’s reality. AFF and their grantee partners know the importance of knowledge and resources and share this knowledge. I love that there is an emphasis on learning and collaboration rather than individualism, so that we can all succeed together. I have never been so welcomed and supported from the start in a new environment. I imagine this translates into the grantmaking process as well.
How do you think this internship will impact your future?
I hope I can learn how to be involved in social justice in my own life. I have already begun to explore the plethora of resources and organizations in Brooklyn. I can be hesitant in new situations, but I hope to gain the confidence to find the different communities I may need that will allow me to grow into myself. I also want to find the communities that I can uplift with the knowledge I have gained through my experiences. I hope to learn to be a kind, creative and understanding leader.
Welcome to the team Niara!