We always love receiving visits from students that have gone through our programs or been supported by scholarships/grants. Last month, we caught up with D’Briault Atemazem, a former participant in CFVI’s Junior Angels program.
Junior Angels is an initiative that seeks to introduce youth to the worlds of volunteerism and philanthropy. High school students on St. Thomas and St. Croix are partnered with selected community service agencies for internships during the school year. Our Junior Angels program is managed and funded by CFVI and its donors.
Read on to learn more about D’Briault and his experience as a Junior Angel. For more information about the Junior Angels program, visit our website.
Name: D’Briault Atemazem
Current School: Gannon University
Major: Mechanical Engineering
High School: Charlotte Amalie High school
What were some of your hobbies and interests during your childhood? I enjoyed playing sports, soccer mostly!
How and why did you become a Junior Angel? From a very young age, I was indoctrinated with the idea that everything I do should benefit those around me. I saw how rewarding it was for me and my environment, thus, I sought out volunteering opportunities whenever I could. In the 9th grade, I learned from a friend of mine, that there is an organization that actually works with students and places them in locations of their choice to volunteer all year round. This is when I decided to become a Junior Angel.
Describe your favorite Junior Angel project or activity, and its impact on our community?
I’ve been involved in many enjoyable projects as a Junior Angel that varied from participating in promotional videos to handing out a mass amount of free books to the communities. However, if I was to pick one, I would definitely say hosting a Christmas party at the Boys and Girls Club of St. Thomas for families that lived nearby. It was a very joyous moment for the community as we gathered and celebrated by eating good food and handing out presents to the children.
How did being a Junior Angel make a difference in your high school life?
Being a Junior Angel taught me how to use my time in a productive way. My days consisted of me going to school and then volunteering at the Boys and Girls club in the afternoons to assist children with their homework. I not only served as a tutor but as a mentor.
How has your Junior Angel experience impacted your adult life?
Through my experiences, I’ve learned how to better manage my time so that I can be more productive. In addition, serving as a role model to the youth has helped to become a better person.
Briefly describe your education and experiences since leaving St. Thomas.
After completing high school, I left for Pennsylvania to attend Gannon University where I am currently a junior and mechanical engineer major. Throughout my time here, I was lucky enough to do research with a million dollar robot, Baxter, where I learned to program and use motion sensors to control robots. I also sought out a job at the Nash library where I host Stem pass sessions for Calculus 1,2,3,4 and physics 1,2,3 to groups of 20 to 30 people three times a week. Currently, I am now a shift leader and supervisor at the Stem Center.
What are your plans for the summer?
This summer I was one of ten applicants selected for a Rehabilitation Engineering program at Cleveland Clinic/ Cleveland State University. I am responsible for writing codes or programs that analyze load cells voltages and incorporates motion captures from sensors and cameras so that the biomedical engineer can design proper (prosthetic) support systems.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing our VI youth today?
Our youths are really not permitted to discover their talents or capabilities from a young age because we are not exposing them to what is out there. Education is not just a recitation of the multiplication table or the alphabet. Education should arouse enthusiasm, intuition and a willingness to pursue passions. I believe that it is our responsibility to expose our youth to a variety of opportunities, so that we may see their passion or interest and seek out a way to provide the resources necessary for them to fulfill them.
What can we begin to do differently today to address this problem?
The statement, “everything starts at home” is very true, however, the average youth spends more time at school or outside than home, thus, we should be investing in our schools and communities, by introducing our students to new courses, programs, and other extracurricular activities.
The Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands is committed to our youth by supporting programs and initiatives that are providing enriching experiences for our children and young adults that otherwise would not be possible. In the Fall of 2018, CFVI will be incorporating a youth-led philanthropy component to further enhance the student experience.
Categories: CFVI Highlights