From MAP Youth to College Intern: Adriana is Back!

Hi, my name is Adriana and I am an intern at Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP). I graduated from Leonardo DaVinci High School and grew up on the west side of Buffalo. While in high school, I worked for MAP, as a youth employee through the Growing Green Program from 2007 to 2011. While I was in the program, I got introduced to what food insecurity meant and how it was affecting my community. I was also introduced to different forms of oppression and the topic of social justice. All of the information that I learned at MAP about advocating for change and fighting for equality and social justice drew me to picking social work as a major. Another reason that I choose to study social work was because I want to help people. I know how difficult it can be to be disadvantaged so it seemed like the best career path for me. I recently graduated this May from Niagara University and I received a degree in Social Work. In order to graduate I needed to complete an internship in my field. This opportunity led me back to the Massachusetts Avenue Project.

I was born and raised in Buffalo and so were both of my parents. My father is African American and my mother is Puerto Rican. Neither of my parents went to college.  I have two older sisters named Evelyn and Veronica. Evelyn has a degree in nursing and Veronica has a degree in psychology. I’m very close to my family and I grew up being taught that family is very important. Families must all remain close even when we start our own lives with our own families. Both of my sisters have one son. Veronica’s son is Ruben who is 4 years old and Evelyn’s son is named Elijah and he is 1 year old. I also have a 5 month old son named Terrence Jr. and it has honestly been an amazing experience being a parent and watching him grow and learn. My family is still very close even though we don’t see each other as often.

I would describe myself as open minded, caring, and resilient. I’m extremely open-minded and I love trying new things or learning about things. This world is so big and there is so much that I want to learn and explore. I’m also a very caring person. I believe that a lot of people are taught to worry about themselves and their own problems. I like to listen to people because you never know what someone’s going through on their own. I’d like to help people in any way that I can because even just listening can make a difference sometimes. As a social worker I’ll be able to do this every day at work.  I’m also very resilient. There have been a lot of obstacles throughout my life that I have had to overcome. Despite everything, I never gave up and I’m proud to say that I’m doing well and I’ve just graduated with a bachelor’s degree. Graduating has been a huge accomplishment for me. I want to continue my education and therefore I am looking into different master’s programs in Western New York.

I like my current internship at MAP because I’m finally practicing the theories that I have learned while studying social work.  This is a very open environment where I can ask questions and learn. For the past four months, I have been working behind the scenes to connect Alumni of the Growing Green program with current students. Recently, I was asked to assist with MAP’s Mobile Market. I’m excited that I’m going to have a more hands on experience working directly with clients. The Growing Green Mobile Market fights food inequity by providing fresh affordable produce to areas of Buffalo where access to healthy, affordable and fresh food is limited. I’m excited to be a part of MAP again and can’t wait to see what’s next to come for me after I leave the internship.

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