"UD Team represents a new beginning for me to start fresh and achieve goals in my life."
Arielle De Souza Alumni Spotlight
Arielle De Souza joined Urban Dove (UD) as a Youth Staff (YS) in her sophomore year of high school and continued on until her senior year. Arielle's twin sister, Annelle, was the first to join the Urban Dove family and she and her friends eventually convinced Arielle to join as well. During her time with UD, Arielle participated in the HiRisers and College All-Stars (CAS) programs, acting as a mentor for younger kids and learning how to make her college dreams a reality.
Although Arielle loved being a mentor to younger students and valued the teamwork, communication and leadership skills she developed in the HiRisers program, it was CAS that inspired her to achieve her dreams. Her favorite memory of the CAS program was from an overnight college tour to Boston during her junior year. Joined by other teens in the UD family, it was on that trip that Arielle developed the lifelong friendships that would be so valuable to her. Together, they experienced what life was like on a college campus and enjoyed the rich history and beautiful monuments of Boston.
After graduating high school Arielle went on to attend college at the University of Rhode Island, where she earned two bachelor's degrees; a B.S. in Ocean Engineering and a B.S. in French. While going at URI, she spent 14 months abroad in Paris where she studied at Université de Technologie de Compiègne, and interned at a French engineering company. She first began taking French in college and became fluent while in France, where during her internship, she also developed a love for coding and has been steeped in both interests ever since. This fall, Arielle will be attending École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancée - one of the top engineering schools in the world!
UD programming thrives on developing the skills of communication, teamwork and leadership and these were by far the most valuable skills imparted to Arielle. "The experience I gained while in Urban Dove served as the stepping stone for my involvement in extra-curricular activities in high school and for capitalizing on the opportunities I got in college. The confidence and skills I developed helped me to land a job as a college tour guide and has opened the doors to so many opportunities that I might not have had."
Throughout her experience in UD, Arielle acquired a core group of friends who have stayed with her ever since, many of them joining her at URI and some even in her study-abroad in Paris. Making connections and becoming part of a family is what Urban Dove is all about, and it's a skill in which Arielle is an expert!
Lailah Thompson Alumni Spotlight
The greatest experience I ever had during my time as a Youth Staff at Urban Dove was during camp Lenox when one of the campers told me that she looked up to me.
Lailah Thompson joined Urban Dove in 2008 as a Junior Youth Staff and continued throughout high school, graduating from Urban Dove in 2011 and graduating High School in 2012. During her 3 years with Urban Dove, Lailah developed her skills in leadership, patience and in how to act as a proper role model for her peers and the youth. It was during her experience at camp Lenox that Lailah first realized her ability to positively impact those around her. She took this responsibility seriously and began to develop herself and her skills each year while with Urban Dove. These skills served her well in High School and College.
In High School, Lailah was very active in student government. Acting as her class’s representative in her Junior and Senior year, Lailah helped organized class meetings, fashion shows and senior trips, and collaborated with her peers and faculty to be successful. The knowledge Lailah gained as a College All-Star served her well, being accepted to Worcester Poly Tech in Worcester Massachusetts upon graduating high school. She then further utilized the knowledge and technical expertise she developed to help her peers navigate through the complicated process of applying to college, by keeping them up to date with scholarship and financial aid deadlines, and even creating a Facebook page for her class.
While in college, Lailah continued to tutor and mentor local Worcester middle and high school students who were typically African refugees, through the African Community Education Program. On campus, Lailah again took on leadership positions as the Membership Director and Interim President of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, helping to organize the 2013 zone conference for the National Society of Black Engineers as the New England Zone Conference Planning Chairperson. She also served as a Peer Academic Coach, facilitating workshops and advising her peers, while organizing admission events on campus.
Lailah will graduate from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in May 2016 with her Bachelors of Science in Industrial Engineering and Masters of Science in Management. She is also completing her English Minor. Upon graduation, Lailah accepted a full time offer from Frito Lay in their location in Maryland, where she will be working as a supply chain operations associate. However, before starting work, Lailah will travel to Senegal and Europe with her best friend from college
Jennifer Monge Alumni Spotlight
A once self-described introvert, now legal activist for the underserved, Jennifer Monge shares how her time with Urban Dove changed the entire course of her life and introduced her to her own voice.
Jennifer attended Life Sciences Secondary High School, a crowded school lacking the student-to-teacher ratio necessary to offer her the personal development and college readiness attention she desperately needed. She joined the Urban Dove family in her freshman year of high school as a HiRiser and continued throughout her 4 years finishing as a College All-Star. Recalling her experience in Urban Dove, Jennifer expresses that “doing it all with a group, all pushing and learning together was perhaps the most rewarding part of the experience.”
Jennifer graduated high school in 2008, and with the support and guidance she received as a College All-Star, Jennifer was accepted to Williams College. During her time there, she had the opportunity to travel and study abroad in Syria, Egypt, Nicaragua and South Africa, where she developed her experience and made valuable connections. In 2014 she returned to the states and began working as a paralegal before coming into her current position. For the last 8 months Jennifer has worked for an organization called Her Justice, coordinating the company’s pro-bono project which provides legal representation for underserved women in NYC, as well as immigration assistance, matrimonial assistance and family law. “I love my current job, she says ‘and am passionate about the work I do here. If it weren’t for Urban Dove and the skills and experience I gained during my time there, I would not have been able to attend Williams College and none of this would have been possible.”
Jennifer attributes much of her success post-high school to the experience and the skills she gained while in Urban Dove’s HiRisers and College All-Star programs, where she learned to listen effectively, ask pertinent questions and developed the confidence to find her own voice.
She now uses her new found voice speaking for the underserved and those needing representation.
October 2006 March 2015