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Learning Leadership in Community

By Carlos Buendia Sevilla

During my junior and senior years in college, I worked as a student coordinator for Georgetown’s D.C. Schools Projects, a program that provides English tutoring to recent immigrant youth. It was in this role that I put into practice skills that built my understanding of goal-oriented and team-centered leadership.

As a student coordinator, I oversaw a group of eight to 12 Georgetown student tutors who worked with 40 D.C.-area students on a weekly basis. I learned to hold myself to a high standard of reliability, openness, and compassion. As someone involved in recruiting, training, and programing, I needed to be a reliable coordinator who my tutors could come to for questions and support. My openness allowed our team to develop a new tutoring site in West D.C. by collecting feedback and taking the time to hear new suggestions.

In addition to openness and reliability, I learned that compassion can go a long way in making service-based programs a welcoming experience, not only for those on the receiving end, but for those giving their time. I practiced and encouraged compassion in our program by creating opportunities to sit down and get to know the background of the families we served, and the realities of learning a second language without proper resources. Throughout our day-to-day programing and my role as a goal-centered coordinator, I came to believe teamwork is what allowed the program’s student tutors to deliver great service to a community in need.

As El Pomar Fellows, we work with a variety of staff on several programs. Through our teams, we are bound by one mission; to enhance, encourage and promote the current and future well-being of the people of Colorado. I believe our reliability is essential to serving the people of Colorado, and I am confident that all Fellows will hold themselves to the highest standards as we are not just working for ourselves, but we are contributing to social good.

Openness allows us to bring innovation into the Fellowship through our knowledge, while retaining El Pomar Foundation’s tradition of forward-thinking philanthropy. Our knowledge of Colorado is brought to us through people, whether that is our personal connections to communities or the regional councils who keep us informed. Compassion can go hand in hand with knowledge, as it allows us to understand, and encourages us to maximize our impact.

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