Niamke Ellis has been a Steward since the fall season of 2003. Since then, his passion for service and his heart for Solar Youth have carried him through several Program Internships, where he has consistently been a leader among Stewards and peers alike.
This fall, nine years since he first joined Solar Youth, Niamke will be heading off to attend college at the University of Bridgeport taking with him all that he has learned and accomplished at Solar Youth. As a farewell to his Intern years, and a thank you to the staff at Solar Youth, Niamke prepared a speech that he read at the Public Education Forum last week.
From participant of ’03 to intern of 2012. From ecosystem and watersheds to my current Advanced Placement Environmental Science class. Being in Solar Youth all these years has taught me how to give guidance and be a leader. Taught me to be responsible. I’ve also learned great work ethics through training and working at the sites. From Solar Youth I’ve gained a vast amount of information about guiding a group, whether it be the smallest of Citycology to the energetic Steward Teams.
Guidance: Advice or information aimed at resolving a problem or difficulty. Not being a dictator or a boss, but guiding the group to success. This I have accomplished with the countless CSAPs, programs, and PEFs like today that I have completed.
Within Solar Youth – mainly in the past four years I have been working – I have become extremely responsible in everything I do. Being prepared, having great attendance, and knowing my role. This has helped mold me into the responsible individual that I am today.
Because of Solar Youth I have acquired many skills. From the start at John S. Martinez, to Citycology, to my current 6th grade Barnard Steward Team. Because of training and all of the time spent working at Solar Youth I have gained many skills and strengths. Public speaking, behavior management, knowledge of the environment, and much more.
Because of Solar Youth I have developed a positive sense of self, a connection and commitment to others, and I am here today to pass down my knowledge and thank Solar Youth for what they represent.
Clockwise from top left: With Randall, another Steward-turned-Intern in summer camp; Finishing an activity during the Summer Camp "Morning Cruise"; Dress-up (always a SY favorite); Reading his speech at the Solar Youth PEF; Leading a game during Barnard Steward Team; Helping Stewards plan their teach project during the Spring 2012 Youth Summit
We're so proud of you, Niamke!
You'll be an incredible example of leadership wherever you go!