Making an Impact: Experiences from New Hope Youth Program Assistants

You know that PPL has a strong presence in Minneapolis and St. Paul, but did you know that PPL is also strengthening communities in first-ring suburbs like New Hope?

PPL has three properties in New Hope and a total of 80 units. Residents have access to our high-quality Tutor-Mentor programs for youth (K-10th grade), including Scholars, Leaders, and techspark!. Tutor-Mentor volunteers commit to weekly sessions  with their mentees and build meaningful relationships while helping youth develop academic and social-emotional skills. PPL school-year and summer youth programs also benefit from the energy and leadership of interns and work study students, who build professional skills over 1-4 years working with their sites.

Our team of volunteers, interns, and work study students across the region help change the lives of youth living in PPL housing. But, working with youth impacts our team too. Take a moment to hear from our New Hope Youth Program Assistants as they share a little about themselves and how working with PPL youth affects their lives today and inspires their own futures.


ChantelleChantelle
Hamline University, 2016
Digital Media Arts major
3rd year with PPL

What’s your favorite thing about working in New Hope?

I just love the students. Each of them bring their own personalities to program, so it’s fun to get to know them and exciting to watch them grow throughout the years.

What is one thing you’ve learned while working at PPL?

I think the most important and profound thing I’ve learned is that we can learn from kids just as much as they can learn from us.

How will this experience relate to your career goals?

This year, I’ve had the opportunity to help students with lessons related to my studies: HTML coding, photo editing, etc. It helped me learn to have patience and look at things from a different perspective when a student is confused, which are skills I need to have if I decide to be an art director or college professor.

What are you currently reading in your personal time?

Love Does by Bob Goff and the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth.

What was your favorite comic strip or cartoon character as a kid?

Courage the Cowardly Dog.

What is your favorite animal and why?

Elephants because they’re gentle giants!


StellaStella
Hamline University, 2016
Public Health Science major
1st year with PPL

What’s your favorite thing about working in New Hope? 

I love the parties we have with the kids after they get their happy rocks! It’s always exciting to see them having so much fun after all their hard work. (Happy rocks are earned by students when they do their work each night, and once the group jar is filled, the whole group gets a reward.)

What is one thing you’ve learned while working at PPL? 

I’ve learned how much creativity and willingness the students have to learn something new every day.

How will this experience relate to your career goals?

This experience combines with what I want to do after college. I want to teach English as a second language abroad to kids.

What are you currently reading in your personal time? 

Geisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki.

What was your favorite comic strip or cartoon character as a kid? 

My favorite cartoon character would be Pikachu! I would wake up every Saturday morning just to watch Pokemon with my sisters.

What is your favorite animal and why?

My favorite animals are rabbits because of how cute they are.


Donny

Donny
Hamline University, 2019
International Business major
1st year with PPL

What’s your favorite thing about working in New Hope? 

My favorite thing about working in New Hope is that I am able to make a connection with my kids, the scholars.

What is one thing you’ve learned while working at PPL?

I have to expect the unexpected from my scholars, because I learn something new from them.

How will this experience relate to your career goals?

This experience may not relate to my career goals, but it will help me be a well-rounded person.

What are you currently reading in your personal time?

The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. A book about demigods saving the gods from Titans.

What was your favorite comic strip or cartoon character as a kid? 

My all-time and will-always-be-my favorite comic strip is Calvin and Hobbes.

What is your favorite animal and why?

I would say my favorite animal is a lion, because they are natural leaders and sometimes known to be gentle.


SamSam
University of Minnesota, 2016
Psychology major
1st year with PPL

What’s your favorite thing about working in New Hope? 

My favorite thing about working in New Hope is seeing the kids challenge themselves and improve in their literacy and relationship skills.

What is one thing you’ve learned while working at PPL?

One thing that I’ve learned while working at PPL is that anyone can overcome the adversity they are faced with if they apply themselves to improve their lives and situations.

How will this experience relate to your career goals?

For my future career, I would like to be a school psychologist, so getting the experience of working with kids with different skill-sets and challenges is very helpful. I now have a new perspective of what it is like to deal with kids’ issues in a sensitive and supportive way and it has helped me develop certain skills necessary to accomplish this task that will be directly relevant to my intended career goals.

What are you currently reading in your personal time?

Aside from textbooks – which are slowly taking over my life – I enjoy reading fantasy and science fiction books. I am currently reading The Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman whenever I get a chance.

What was your favorite comic strip or cartoon character as a kid? 

My favorite cartoon character growing up was Timmy from The Fairly Odd Parents. I think I could relate to his awkwardness and struggles in social situations somehow, and I still watch it when I find old reruns on Nickelodeon.

What is your favorite animal and why?

Penguins are my favorite animal because I think their waddling is adorable, and because of the movie Happy Feet (which if you haven’t seen, I strongly suggest you do).


Are you or someone you know interested in becoming an intern, work study, or volunteer with youth development programs? PPL is now looking for Summer Youth Development Interns! To read a full position description, visit www.ppl-inc.org/how-to-help/volunteer. For questions, contact Julie Huck: 612-455-5111 / julie.huck@ppl-inc.org

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