Lennasia Dixon, a buildOn student at the Community Academy for Science and Health in Boston, recently shared how working with coaches from Ernst & Young in buildOn’s Partnership Program helped her prepare for college. In buildOn’s Partnership Program, industry professionals pair with buildOn students to share crucial skills and serve in solidarity. Learn more about the program here.
“It was February 2017 when I walked into the buildOn office at my high school, confident and proud, ready to make a difference. I had been thinking all day about what it would feel like to travel across the world to experience a different culture and help an underserved community, daydreaming about all the lives I would change with building this new school.
“Flash forward to August 2017: I was in the 110-degree weather on a plantation in the middle of Nicaragua. I found myself reflecting on how quickly the environment around me changed from that cold day in February. It’s been raining every day since we got here, and the majority of our time spent here has been digging up the water caused by the rain…”
Above: Lennasia (back center) traveled to Nicaragua in August 2017 to break ground on a school with buildOn on Trek.
This story from my buildOn Trek to Nicaragua is how I begin the essay I’m sending out to with my college applications. But really, there are so many memories I could have written about buildOn pushing me to do my best to help other people. Like serving meals to the men at the Boston Rescue Mission who dealt with homelessness and substance abuse. Or helping the visually impaired kids at Our Space Our Place play like normal kids do. Or delivering blankets we made by hand for the women and children living at the shelter. There was so much to write about. I knew I wanted to write about serving with buildOn, but I didn’t know where to begin.
Scott, Loredana and other staff from EY partnered with my high school to help buildOn students get prepared for college.
Fortunately, I had some help from some new friends from EY who I met through the buildOn Partnership Program. Scott, Loredana and other staff from EY partnered with my high school to help buildOn students get prepared for college. They not only helped me decide on what to write my college essay about and how to make it stand out. They also taught me about financial aid, networking and other skills I’ll need when I start college next year. And when we did service together, making warm blankets to give to the homeless shelter, I got to show them how even doing small things can make a big impact on people.
Above: Lennasia works on her college essay with Loredana Sandu-Vieil, one of her coaches from EY.
Like I told the team from EY at our Partnership Program graduation: I’m so thankful for them. I appreciate all of the brilliance and insight that they gave me into the world, and how they helped me see things from more of a professional level.
I’ll never forget the help that Scott and Loredana gave me with getting ready for college, and especially one thing that Loredana told me about choosing a career: “Go for what you love, not just for the dollars and make sure you’re passionate about it.” I took that to heart.
Like I told the team from EY at our Partnership Program graduation: I’m so thankful for them.
I hope that someday, after I’m successful, I’ll be able to help teenagers the way the EY team did for us, because I know how great it feels to help others in the way you’ve been helped. Like when I serve with buildOn passing out food to the homeless, I get that special feeling because when I was younger my family had to rely on food pantries for meals sometimes too. I’m in a better place now because someone helped me. I want to make sure I can continue to help people too.
Below: Lennasia and Scott McCowan, a senior manager at EY and one of Lennasia’s coaches in buildOn’s Partnership Program, are reunited at the 2018 buildOn Boston Dinner.