Meredith is PbS’ Spring 2023 College for Social Innovation Fundraising Fellow who was charged with the task of creating, designing, and helping to direct the national 10K Steps for Real Second Chances fundraiser for PbS’ Education and Employment Foundation.
Why We Walk: The CSFI Fellow Behind the 10K Steps for Real Second Chances Challenge
Huge thank you to all of the facilities, friends, and families who participated in the PbS 10K Steps For Real Second Chances Challenge. Each team has had a unique journey this past month. Our Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center team from Tecumseh, OK had to overcome the challenge of dealing with power outages due to the tornados that occurred in the past weeks, some teams had great success and were comprised of over 100 people like the Long Creek Youth Development Center Portland, ME, and some teams tried to persevere despite injuries like our team at East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility in San Diego County who unfortunately couldn’t finish the challenge this time around. Despite the unique experiences you or your team may have had on the way I hope you had fun and are left feeling accomplished.
I have had the privilege of tracking the progress and stepping alongside all 11 teams who signed up for the challenge and as the fundraiser comes to a close I would like to share for my final blog post a little bit more about myself and what led me to create this fundraiser. I am in my last semester at Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA, and I am a political science major. I was matched with PbS as a fundraising fellow by the instructors at College for Social Innovation (CSFI) because of my background and interest in policy, data analysis, and legal studies. And I don’t think there could have been a better match for me than PbS.
I was instantaneously drawn to the mission and equally fascinated to learn how data can be used in such an impactful way to tell the stories of young people and help juvenile justice facilities produce better outcomes and come up with solutions. I also was interested in the PbS Education and Employment Foundation, as data shows education and employment can be the two strongest determinants in the success of a young person in the reentry process so as a fundraising fellow, I was quickly inspired to find a way to support the impact PbS’s foundation has been having on the lives of justice-involved young people.
As a CFSI fellow at PbS this semester I had the privilege and full creative authority to create a fundraiser from the ground up that would leave a lasting impact on PbS and I hope that the 10K Fundraiser for Real Second Chances will be able to do that in the years to come. I created this fundraiser first with the idea in mind that I wanted to involve young people at facilities, staff, and donors in a way that would encourage them to actively participate in National Second Chance Month and help raise money for the Education and Employment Foundation.
And there’s no better way to “actively” participate than to actually take steps to help give justice-involved young people second chances. As I progressed in the fundraising process I was able to learn more about PbS and the population that they serve and this only increased my drive and interest in helping to advocate for justice-involved young people. Every dollar raised and step taken is impactful and has reminded me why it’s so important to raise awareness and promote a more equitable world- even if it's one step at a time.