“I started out with a grant that helped girls who look like me get involved in technology through the arts. That arts piece really spoke to me,” she says. “And of course, having little girls who looked like me, seeing me doing the thing helps them to envision themselves doing the thing.”
PENCIL is a United Way partner agency that supports Metro Nashville Public Schools by connecting businesses to schools, providing teachers with classroom supplies, offering high impact tutoring and supporting families through Family Resource Centers.
“They’re doing incredible work and it’s incredibly hard work. I think that it benefits our community as a whole to go in and visit our schools because so much of the narrative has been less than positive.”
She says one of the biggest challenges facing families the past few years is maintaining engagement throughout the pandemic.
“Our clients have stepped up and are adapting to it pretty well. They really miss that face-to-face engagement but we’ve put pieces in place.”
She says their YouTube video learning series is really taking off to support students virtually.
“If there can be a plus during the pandemic, that’s one of them. We’re growing our YouTube channels so that our schools have access to recorded content to support whatever their subjects are. So, at the high school level, that means that a business partner who’s trying to ultimately build their workforce, they can speak about what their business day looks like, share that with the students, the students can then watch those videos and then record their questions so they can speak back and forth that way. So even though it’s a step removed with that virtual piece, they’re still getting that engagement. And that’s what we’re about.”