Ever wonder what it’s like to be a member of Philly Fellows? In the ‘Meet Our Fellows’ series, we’ll introduce you to our current fellows, their projects, and how they are benefiting from the Philly Fellows program. This post features Justis Wright, who is serving as the GED Acceleration Project Associate at JEVS Human Services.
Name: Justis Wright
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
University: Franklin and Marshall College
Major: Government & Spanish with a minor in Sociology
How did you decide to become a Philly Fellow?
My decision to become a Philly Fellow was based on several different reasons. After finishing undergrad, I knew I wanted to continue my involvement in public service. As a native of Philadelphia, I am always looking for opportunities to give back and uplift my community. Thus, I saw Philly Fellows as a way for me to stay local and continue my commitment to serving others. Another reason why I decided to become a Philly Fellow was the community living aspect. Living with other recent college grads who are as passionate about public service as I am was attractive to me because it would enable me to connect and network with like-minded individuals. Furthermore, I am also very much interested in the non-profit sector, and I saw Philly Fellows as a way for me to learn more about the Philly non-profit industry by working directly with a non-profit organization. Ultimately, my decision to become a Philly Fellow was largely based on my desire to serve my local community.
Let’s talk about your project. What’s your site like? What are you working on?
Currently, I am working with JEVS Human Services as the GED Acceleration Project Associate. For my Fellowship, I work at the E3 Center City site and with Project WOW at Orleans Technical College. E3 provides out of school youth with education, employment, and empowerment services, and Project WOW provides youth who have dropped out of school with GED preparation and property maintenance skills. Before working with JEVS, I had little knowledge about the GED and about the population of out of school youth. However, working on this project has enabled me to learn a great deal about the GED and more about the barriers that out of school youth face as they strive to attain their education. Undoubtedly, working at JEVS has allowed me to become more aware of the issues that youth face, and how to better support and empower our young people.
Community living is one of the most important aspects of the Philly Fellows program. What’s this like? How have you benefited?
Community living has been a great experience for me thus far! My roommates and I get along really well. We all work together to make sure that the house runs smoothly, and that we are all on the same page. It’s a great feeling to know that when I come home from work, my roommates are there to share stories about their work day and also to listen to me tell them about how my day went. My roommates are a good source of support, and it’s nice to be able to converse with them about career goals and future plans.
What’s your favorite part about being a Philly Fellow so far?
So far, one of my favorite parts about being a Philly Fellow has been my ability to get to know Philly in a different way. Although I am a native of Philly, while growing up, I mostly spent my time in West Philly and rarely ventured to different areas. However, living in downtown Philly has allowed me to get to know other areas of the city better. I now have an array of restaurants, stores, and favorite sites that I frequent in Center City.
A huge plus to this program is getting to live & work in Philadelphia’s vibrant communities. What do like about living in the city? Where have you explored?
Living in the Washington Square West area of Philly is awesome! I love living downtown and being able to walk to work. I’ve been able to try out different restaurants and explore various nearby sites. It’s great to be able to walk out my door and be within walking distance from places like Penn’s Landing, City Hall, Ms. Tootsie’s, Reading Terminal Market, etc!
What’s your favorite hobby?
I spend a lot of my free time playing sports and working out. Recently, I’ve gotten into biking! Biking has allowed me to see Philly in a whole new way. I love biking because it’s a relaxing activity that allows me to not only exercise, but also to connect with nature and my environment.
Do you hang out with other Philly Fellows in your free time?
Although we all have busy schedules, we do make time to hang out. Some Fellows have hosted gatherings at their houses. Other times we have hung out included going out for Thai and then attending a Sixers game. Hanging out with housemates or other Philly Fellows is always a fun time!
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?