Chris Brown



Location: Valhalla, NY, United States

    Issues Areas:
  • Education Justice

Campus: SUNY Westchester Community College - Valhalla, NY

Fellowship Class Year: 2007

Featured Fellow Spotlight

YP4: What do you stand for?

I stand for community development. I stand for working in the social sector and specifically, working with youth. And I stand for bettering our cultural society, making it more progressive and showing people other ways and means of making it in this world.

YP4: What inspired you to apply for the YP4 fellowship?

I researched Young People for and what it stood for — all their progressive values — and that inspired me immediately to apply. I saw that it would help my community in many ways and help me in terms of connections, setting up programs and gaining access to materials. All these networking benefits really attracted me to the program.

YP4: What have you been involved with since the YP4 Summit?

I did an internship with YP4, and through my time there, they assisted me in getting a job with the Harlem Children’s Zone — a very reliable organization — and helping me to work where I want to, in the social sector. YP4 helped me with access to materials and various needs for the community center I volunteer at. The many workshops I’ve participated in have really helped me and the life coaching sessions have as well. I’ve been working on a capacity Blueprint where I’ve worked with other fellows and met other fellows working on the same issues I am. I’ve also been working in Mt. Vernon as the supervisor of a children’s program, Home School Connections, that works to educate children ages 6 through 10 on their school curriculum.

YP4: What have been your major struggles and your major successes?

My major successes have been being involved with these many projects and being the president of the Black Student Union at my school. My struggles would be being involved in too many things at one time and not completing a project to the best of my ability because I’ve been involved in all these things. Life coaching sessions really helped me engage and work out a plan for how to be involved and manage my time.

YP4: What do you hope to accomplish?

I hope to be successful as a senior fellow with Young People For and finish the final phases of my capacity building Blueprint. I am also finishing up school this year.

YP4: Who or what inspires you to do the work you do?

The people that inspire me are my grandmother, definitely my mother and godmother, my father and my ancestors. Since day one, they’ve been a support system for me; whether it was negative or positive and no matter how tough things got, they were, and are, still there.

YP4: What have you learned from your sessions with Cathy Wasserman and your experience doing a capacity building Blueprint? How have you used these skills and tools at your work?

I’ve learned that there’s no real captain of the ship. Ideas need to be centered around a general goal, not the individual. Everything is a team effort and everyone’s idea or every success can’t be for oneself but has to be for the cause. Working with Cathy, I learned to take everything one day at a time and make choices that work for me. I learned to focus on myself as a human being and stay focused on the goal in order to get to where I want to be.

YP4: How can students on other campuses who are interested in similar issues learn from your experience and take action? Do you have advice or resources to share?

My main advice to give is to be active. There’s no limit to your participation and to social engagement and there’s an overwhelming need for that at this time. That’s how I started. One day I got involved and I didn’t know much coming in about the progressive social movement. But I started getting active in my community and found my place and passion. Once you start, there are just so many opportunities to grow.