2015 PFIG Recipient Saeeda Quansah

Career Administrator

Journal Entry #1

Nestled between Zuzu’s flower shop and an earthy cafe in Brookln is The Superhero Supply Company, a store that claims to prepare aspiring superheroes for the task of taking care of the world’s dilemmas. The inspiration behind all the superhero regalia is my internship at 826NYC, an educational non-profit that focuses on strengthening children’s writing skills through creative venues. On my first day on the job, my boss Cutter had myself and the other programs intern looks the works of the 826NYC’s students and choose their most unique and compelling stories for the end of school year publication. The organization periodically publishes their students writings in anthologies to both commemorate their hard work and raise money to support the organization. With youth anthologies, filmmaking workshops and adventure bookmaking, 826NYC has become a place very near to the hearts of so many of its students.

Within a week of my time at 826NYC, I have been honing in on my academic concentrations English Literature and even a bit of my Spanish concentration as well. The majority of the students that 826NYC serve is Latino. In the past few days I have worked in sales at The Superhero Supply Store, book editing for the upcoming anthologies, event management of a field trip and even granting super powers! Nothing is more gratifying than turning on the wind machine (for epic superhero cape effects) for an inquisitive customer dressed in comic hero regalia.

The experience I have gained at 826NYC in such a short span of time only makes me more excited for what the future holds. Soon will be time for the organization’s annual weeklong Summer Filmmakers and STEM writing workshops. This will give me the opportunity to work one-on-one with the children and see their creative process. After reading so many of their stories in the past few days, I look forward to meeting these Brooklyn’s finest young writers. I plan on using my time with the children to gain a better understanding of what it takes to really meet the academic and creative needs of children who so very clearly have the drive to better themselves academically, but perhaps not aware of all their tools. I imagine my time with 826NYC’s staff and students as a stepping stone to better understanding the precariousness of creative education.

Journal Entry #2

There is nothing like thirteen young faces to keep you alert on a summer afternoon. These thirteen children are a team of Brooklyn’s finest filmmakers, tasked to make an age-appropriate film noir production. They, along with the help of 826NYC staff, interns and volunteers, work tirelessly for three hours Monday through Thursday brainstorming and writing for a student film. Into a Google Drive goes their cinematic hopes and out comes the product of those three weeks.

It would be an understatement to say that my first week in the Summer Filmmakers Workshop hasn’t been both challenging and exciting. The children, between the ages of 9 and 12, will test you and tease you, but they will also challenge you to work harder as their film leaders. They expect the best from us, the adults, and we expect the same from them. Each child brings their own skill set and expertise, whether it be in coming up with knock knock jokes and one-liners or expressive acting. Each child is necessary to the success of the student film. However, issues surface when one child is not as engaged as another. This often occurs when a child feels either too challenged by the work or simply don’t believe that the specific activity is fun enough. They respond with feigned boredom, irritation or the group favorite: “I’m tired!”. It is this tightrope that I find myself balancing on that leads me to wonder daily about the wellbeing of each and every child in the Summer Filmmakers Program. I constantly ask myself: Is sustained educational fun possible?

The seven weeks I have been at 826NYC have been wholly positive for me because they have allowed me to keep questioning the way that I work with others, both adults and children. I have begun to critique certain methods of creative education and my own idealistic vision of nonprofits while examining my own cautious and novice participation in them as well. It is my hope that during these final few weeks at 826NYC I will maintain my critical eye. 

Journal Entry #3

Nestled between Zuzu’s flower shop and an earthy cafe in Brooklyn is The Superhero Supply Company, a store that claims to prepare aspiring superheroes for the task of taking care of the world’s dilemmas. The inspiration behind all the superhero regalia is my internship at 826NYC, an educational non-profit that focuses on strengthening children’s writing skills through creative venues. On my first day on the job, my boss Cutter had myself and the other programs intern looks the works of the 826NYC’s students and choose their most unique and compelling stories for the end of school year publication. The organization periodically publishes their students writings in anthologies to both commemorate their hard work and raise money to support the organization. With youth anthologies, filmmaking workshops and adventure bookmaking, 826NYC has become a place very near to the hearts of so many of its students.

Within a week of my time at 826NYC, I have been honing in on my academic concentrations English Literature and even a bit of my Spanish concentration as well. The majority of the students that 826NYC serve is Latino. In the past few days I have worked in sales at The Superhero Supply Store, book editing for the upcoming anthologies, event management of a field trip and even granting super powers! Nothing is more gratifying than turning on the wind machine (for epic superhero cape effects) for an inquisitive customer dressed in comic hero regalia.

The experience I have gained at 826NYC in such a short span of time only makes me more excited for what the future holds. Soon will be time for the organization’s annual weeklong Summer Filmmakers and STEM writing workshops. This will give me the opportunity to work one-on-one with the children and see their creative process. After reading so many of their stories in the past few days, I look forward to meeting these Brooklyn’s finest young writers. I plan on using my time with the children to gain a better understanding of what it takes to really meet the academic and creative needs of children who so very clearly have the drive to better themselves academically, but perhaps not aware of all their tools. I imagine my time with 826NYC’s staff and students as a stepping stone to better understanding the precariousness of creative education.