I recently had the opportunity to interview Evergreen graduate Sean Lynch ’15, the Youth Programs Coordinator for CIELO in Olympia. This nonprofit organization has provided health and educational resources to the underserved Spanish-speaking community in the Puget Sound area for over 20 years.
Andrew: How did Evergreen influence the work you are doing at CIELO?
Sean: Evergreen had a huge impact on me; the small classes and collaborative learning environment allowed us to share ideas as well as build relationships. Out in the world, being able to interact and build relationships is key. Evergreen’s approach to education also gave my professors the opportunity to get to know me, examine my learning style, and meet my needs.
Andrew: What were the challenges you faced when you arrived at CIELO, and how had Evergreen prepared you for those challenges?
Sean: The biggest challenge was getting people together to work towards common goals. Evergreen prepared me for this challenge by not only promoting collaborative learning, but by preparing me to work independently as well. It’s a balance.
Andrew: The world of nonprofit work can be very demanding, any advice for current or future Greeners who are interested in pursuing this type of work?
Sean: Expect challenges and don’t be afraid to work through them. Don’t shy away from road blocks and challenges because that is how you’re going to learn and adapt. And most importantly, be yourself. Don’t ever be afraid to be you because people value that.
Andrew: What’s your best CIELO memory?
Sean: My best memory was last year’s winter potluck. It was amazing to see how many students and their families attended. I had the opportunity to speak and thank them for all of their hard work and effort. Afterwards they were all coming up to me and thanking me, it was cool to see that mutual respect we have for each other. The relationships here are mutual as we learn and grow together.