Which of the 7 Strengths do you want to focus on developing in yourself this summer?
Sara: I would like to concentrate on developing my ability to demonstrate kindness. I believe that kindness is the primary foundation of building and maintaining trust. I hope that committed work on kindness will create an opportunity for trust and open doors to new relationships, through which I can absorb the stories and experiences of fellow interns, staff members, and of the children and families that LitWorld serves.This summer is the perfect time to engage with this strength as relationships and stories are at the core of each LitWorld program and the organization as a whole.
Lily: LitWorld’s work is powerful because its emphasis on story demonstrates the necessity of voice, particularly the child’s. Taking ownership of one’s voice, however, requires courage. Modern society obsessively, and perhaps frantically, preaches, “Be yourself,” but this adage typically requires a disclaimer. “Being oneself” has become restrained to being normal, or else extraordinary. To fall short in any way is to be socially, intellectually, physically, emotionally separated from common society, to be treated as “other.” To face this world and still hold true to oneself without guilt or shame is brave. I hope to embrace my differences, in whatever form they take, and take courage in owning them and hope to contribute those parts of myself to LitWorld.
Madeline: This summer I would like to continue developing the LitWorld strength of belonging. Out of the seven strengths, belonging really strikes me the most because of its power to place an individual’s heart into a community’s ambitions. As part of a family of six, I feel like I have been privileged to feel and know what it means to be part of a team and community. However, I sometimes struggle to identify with people outside of my family and integrate myself and my story into the communities I encounter and value. Additionally, I sometimes forget to do everything I can to make sure others feel comfortable and valued in the communities they wish to join as well.
I hope that this summer at LitWorld, I can not only improve my interactions surrounding “belonging” but contribute to building the importance of community in the LitWorld curriculum. LitWorld values the individual and communal stories and the ways in which they shape life and learning. Before the end of the summer, I would like to become part of that legacy.
Tiranke: Of the 7 Strengths that LitWorld values, the one that I want to work on developing the most during the summer is courage. I am often hesitant to try new things and venture out on new opportunities in fear of the unknown and that I will not excel. Going away to school has been one of the most courageous things I have done thus far, and it has been amazing. I hope to continue to make decisions that do not have a definite outcome despite the fears that may be behind it. I am not sure how many opportunities have passed me that I didn't take advantage because I didn't have the courage to do so. This summer, I plan to be more courageous by participating in every opportunity that comes my way, even if it's the smallest because I will never know the outcome of it.
Hailing from Brooklyn, Lily Kim is a rising senior at Amherst College. She is a Mathematics major but has a budding passion for sociology and history, as well as an undying love of literature. When the problem sets are completed and papers submitted, she can be found practicing calligraphy at her desk with various inks, a pointed pen, and an ever-growing pile of paper.
Sara Caplan, a native New Yorker, is a rising sophomore at Bowdoin College and is double majoring in History and Education. She spends most of her free time in the community service center working on a variety of education-based projects or bothering the staff about babysitting their children. Sara devotes much time to sitting and soccer playing on the quad when the weather is nice and was possibly seen in the library once.
Madeline Bustos is a rising junior attending Amherst College, where she is double majoring in English and Religion. A native Texan from the Rio Grande Valley, Madeline is still experimenting with city-life and snow. She enjoys show tunes, painting, and time with family. While Madeline is building her background in the nonprofit and education sectors, some of her vocational aspirations from elementary school include an astronaut, a teacher, an artist, and a zookeeper.
Tiranke Kande is a rising sophomore at Ithaca College where she is majoring in Sociology and minoring in Counseling. Her family originates from Sierra Leone. She is originally from the Bronx in New York City and takes great pride in being African and a New Yorker. In her spare time, Tiranke can be found hanging out with family and friends. Although she hasn't decided what she wants to do with her life yet, she has a passion for learning and helping others.
Learn more about our interns in Part II of this series!