Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zone

BYLINE: Mindy Simmons, B-SAFE at St. Mary's Site Manager

Eager kids, excited parents, nervous teens and a site manager that wasn't quite sure what to expect. These were the initial people and their feelings as we walked through the doors on Day One, Monday, July 8, at the B-SAFE at St. Mary's site in Upham's Corner, Dorchester. As a new Site Manager, I thought of all the possible scenarios that the summer might present; I thought even more about my leadership style and what that will look like. My goal was to make sure that the kids were learning and having fun while doing so. I also wanted to be sure the teen CITs (Counselors-in-Training) were gaining something meaningful, maybe even profound, from their experience working with younger students, starting with setting individual goals and then making a plan to meet those goals.

As we approached some gloomy and wet conditions in Week One, I became anxious about the weather. The forecast reported that it would be raining all day on our first full day field trip on Friday. Both CIT's and youth had lots of questions and concerns about how this would impact the activities for the day. But we transitioned through the busy streets of downtown Boston, I noticed a break in the clouds in the sky. It was the SUN! The sun came to pay us a visit!! Adult staff, teen CIT's, and young participants all sighed in relief! I took a deep breath myself, as now I felt sure that everyone could fully enjoy our time at Spectacle Island.

Shorts and water shoes were the only words I heard as we prepared to put our toes into the shallow waters on the beach. Kids were eager to start splashing; our CIT's used their own feelings as cautious motivation to keep young people safe. Teen CIT's and adult leads tossed balls around, playing and engaging with youth. At the same time, they remained vigilant to the safety of the youth. These may seem like small things--fun smiles, watchful eyes--yet for me these demonstrate the teamwork of care and shared dedication of our staff. It is small, everyday moments like these that make this Site Manager role special.

Mindy Simmons is excited to join SSYP this summer to be the Site Manager at St. Mary’s! Mindy was born in La Ceiba, Honduras and raised in Dorchester since the age of five. Mindy graduated with a Masters degree in Social Work in 2015 and, during the school year, she works as a school-based therapist in the Boston Public Schools. Mindy takes pride in mentoring kids and helping them recognize their own potential. Outside of B-SAFE, Mindy enjoys spending time with family, cooking, travel, and outdoor activities.

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