Youth, Education & Sport (YES) Initiative, Pittsfield, MA
This summer I interned for the Youth, Education & Sport (YES) Initiative, a nonprofit youth mentorship platform evolving the way untapped scholar athletes develop through college. YES was founded by Patrick Gordon ’17, whom I met through one of my teammates, and we quickly bonded over our student-athlete experience at Williams.
The majority of my work consisted of outreach to college administrators, college athletic coaches and former student athletes. It was my job to get Patrick connected with certain individuals so that he could further explain the mission of YES and how the organization plans to expand its mentorship program to student athletes on a national level. Outreach was quite a frustrating task, because I was cold calling and emailing the majority of people I contacted. I quickly learned that it’s OK to not get a response from everyone. In a strange way, the rarity of responses made every new response that much better.
I also found ways to improve my outreach response rate. I found myself abandoning a template I created and started crafting messages that were more personal. I realized that it’s a waste of time to send someone a cold email with three paragraphs explaining the mission of something they’ve never heard of. But if I was able to simply catch someone’s eye with an unconventional message, it allowed me to strategically bring up YES in future conversations.
I spent the month of July living and working with five of my teammates in Los Angeles. We were all pretty used to living together, having spent the majority of time over the pandemic together and taking classes remotely. Patrick and I realized that my experience, and specifically my team culture, was similar to the guidance and support that YES aims to provide to all student athletes. Patrick asked me to create a “visual essay,” documenting my personal story and the story of living with my teammates. His idea with this project was to have me create something that could replace my résumé so that potential employers could assess me “visually.” I was rather intrigued by this idea and pleased that Patrick was open to all kinds of projects.
Thankfully there was no shortage of activities and accomplishments to document. So, for the last two weeks of my time in LA, I was capturing all the activities happening in the house. I then used this content to create a short iMovie presentation. While working on the project, I realized the mentorship and encouragement that Patrick gave me was exactly the kind of mentorship that YES aims to provide. This was the main theme in my iMovie presentation. Patrick plans to use the iMovie as marketing content for YES, and I plan to use the iMovie as a project to showcase my creative skills as I explore opportunities in the music and entertainment industry.
I wish to thank the Kraft Family and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for providing me with this incredible opportunity this summer.