They buildOn: Alum Eric Capina Has a Passion for Youth

buildOn alumus Eric Capina thinks that there’s a robust need for buildOn chapters, and he wants to help fulfill that need. He recently contacted us about how someone could start a chapter in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he works at an under-resourced elementary school as a City Year employee. Writing in an email, he expressed a desire to use his skills to empower young adults and “give back to an organization that’s changed my life.”

High school attended: McMann High School in Norwalk, Conn.

Years at buildOn: 2006 – 2010

How did buildOn change your life?

It made me a believer in the power of community service and youth empowerment. It gave me a new group of friends just as interested as I am in community service.

[pullquote]buildOn made me a believer in the power of community service and youth empowerment.[/pullquote]

How has buildOn made a difference in your city?

One of our partners is the Mid Fairfield AIDS Project. We would go there often and do food drives, and on the weekends we’d stock their shelves in Norwalk.

There were plenty of beach cleanups. I know people who would see us during the annual coastal cleanup and would smile seeing these teenagers walking around the beach and picking up trash.

In my school community, I know we’re one of the largest groups to show up for school beautification days. The sports teams were mandated to show up. We would show up on our own.

What are some of your favorite memories working with buildOn?

Regional service projects, the New York City AIDS walk and my Trek for Knowledge (in Nicaragua). I had an awesome program coordinator, Melissa Sanseverino, for four years.

Complete this sentence: buildOn is… a lifestyle.

What have you done since graduating from high school?

I joined City Year Louisiana and I’m dedicating a year of full-time service in Baton Rouge at an elementary school. I’m having a fun time. I serve third grade during the day, helping kids who are behind with their studies. I’ve learned a lot of things about the public education system and education reform… how things changed after Hurricane Katrina.

I have a passion for youth. I don’t think I’ll be able to not work with kids in my lifetime.