Check out our Winners of the 2019 Bridge Social Media Photo Contest
by Clara Rosebrock | | Posted under
This year’s Bridge — Looking Back, Facing Forward — explores the importance of culture and the role it plays in shaping & empowering young people and their communities. Folks at Bridge 2019 submitted entries to the social media contest to win some great prizes!
We’re excited to give you a little background about our winners:
- First Place: Zakarrah McCullouch, won free entry to both days of Bridge 2020.
- Second Place: Dianalyn Urrea, won a $50 gift card to the Hyatt Regency Hotel at Lake Washington.
Below, our winners are looking back at their experiences working in youth development and what they’re looking forward to for Bridge 2020. Check out the entries on our social media @SchoolsOutWA.
Zakarrah McCullouch – 1st Place Winner
S: How are you involved in Youth Development?
Z: I currently work at Rainier View Elementary School in South Seattle, a Title I school, serving students who are very much underprivileged. I work as a Special Education Instructional Assistant, but I am actively involved with all of the students in the school. I am also teaching for a math program called Engageable Designs Unleashed that serves students from PreK-8th grade in South Seattle. We work on encouraging students to think independently and rigorously on math in a very engaging way.
S: Please share a story/ experience about your work that gave you an “aha” moment. Why do you care and enjoy the work you're doing in youth development?
Z: I care so much about developing our youth because obviously, I was once one. I had been facing lots of adversity as young as first grade and it absolutely affected how I learned and interacted in a school setting. I believe that a student’s social and emotional skills and learning must be strengthened for any academic achievements to take place. We want our children to be socially and emotionally competent in preparation for what the world brings. It’s very important for me to build genuine and trusting relationships with any child I come into contact with because that is what I needed as a young child and even teen. Some children come to us in schools and child care settings and we are their safe space. We don’t always know what these children are coming from, but we must bring their experiences with them along the journey of healing and growing.
An experience that stands out to me actually just happened recently at the elementary school I work at. Since the first day of school, I made it my business to learn every students’ name so that I can address them as such when I see them in the halls. Such a small gesture really means a lot to them, because now every chance they see me they want to say Hi or give me a hug. A student one day came in very distressed and overall unhappy. Three students, including our school counselor tried different methods to help this student calm down and reengage in the school day... all ending unsuccessfully. Long story short, I came in and was able to solely listen to this students concerns and connect with him. All I did was validate his feelings and show him empathy rather than tell him it’s time to go to class. I believe it was those small moments that made it possible for me to connect with him.
S: How was your experience at Bridge? What was a highlight or story that stuck with you?
Z: Something that really stuck with me from the Bridge Conference was Dr. Bettina Love’s presentation. As we serve students of color, and we talk about “eliminating the opportunity/achievement gap”, we have to remember what their ancestors and everyone preceding them had overcome for them to be where they are. Qualities to succeed are already engraved into our children, sometimes we just have to find special ways to bring it out of them.
S: Looking back at Bridge 2019, what are you looking forward to at Bridge 2020?
Z: I am looking forward to the people I will meet and the experiences they share about the children they work with. The workshops I attended were AMAZING and I am absolutely excited about gaining more knowledge on how to serve our students better. Thank you again for selecting me as the recipient of the comped registration for Bridge Conference 2020!!
Dianalyn Urrea – 2nd Place Winner
“Currently I’m managing a before school youth program at Nisqually Middle School for TOGETHER!’s Club House program. I am passionate about working towards a positive future for everyone. I have enjoyed supporting communities personally and professionally in a variety of ways for the last 20 years.
I feel honored to work with bright, creative youth and an amazing team. It’s exciting to be able to help guide youth and watch them grow and develop. I love getting to share moments where my team and I have opportunities to make a big difference in the days and lives of youth. 💚
The Bridge 2019 was a wonderful blend of keynote speakers, education, networking, food, and fun. I love to learn and consider myself a student of life. I’m looking forward to attending again.”
— Dianalyn Urrea
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