By Katie Rummel on May 15, 2019
Jack Dorsey started working at Canopy in 2017 as the Urban Forester Intern, and since then has become the full-time Tree Care and Youth Programs Coordinator. Jack spends his days out in the field checking on Canopy trees, and in the office building up capacity for Canopy’s tree care and youth programs. Much of Jack’s work revolves around managing Canopy’s Teen Urban Foresters (TUFs). The TUFs are high school interns from East Palo Alto who work part-time for Canopy throughout the school year and summer, who participate in every aspect of Canopy’s tree planting and tree care programs. Jack’s work managing the TUFs has led to his acceptance into Youth Outside’s Rising Leaders Fellowship. We asked Jack to tell us about this exciting opportunity and what it means to him, both professionally and personally.
I decided to apply to Rising Leaders for a few reasons. First and foremost being a leader is not something I personally entertained much prior to working at Canopy. However, since becoming an intern in 2017, I have had the opportunity to lead volunteers, teens, and corporate groups. My current role gives me the chance to continually improve my ability to lead and communicate information effectively. I think that by joining a professional development class oriented around leadership it will provide more structure to what I have already achieved. Secondly, Youth Outside Rising Leaders seemed like a great opportunity to meet more people in the nonprofit sector.
It has been really interesting meeting people from organizations all over Northern California dedicated to making an environmental impact, especially for youth. Finally, this program offers access to strategic planning workshops, career psychologists, and a myriad of other professional development resources.
The course meets once a month from April to December. The focus is on increasing cultural relevancy within the fellow’s organization. The goal is to make the organization and it’s programs more accessible and welcoming to minority communities. The environmental movement is still quite homogeneous. As global warming, mass extinction, deforestation, pollution, and acidification of our oceans continue, the communities that are most at risk often do not have the resources to dedicate to environmentalism. Instead, many of these families are focused on putting food on the table as that is the immediate priority.
This class is offered in hopes of changing this trend, and at the very least giving these communities a voice. In Canopy’s case, connecting to East Palo Alto residents has always been a struggle. In this regard, I hope this course will offer some alternative ways of understand and engaging this community.
Personally, I hope this course will allow me to think about the way in which Canopy as an organization interacts with the communities that we serve. I also hope to be able to be an Environmental mentor to the Teen Urban Foresters so they can champion the cause as they move on to vocational studies or college.
I believe that a holistic understanding of clients, partners, and volunteer groups is necessary in any company or organization. Without this broader understanding it would be unsurprising to miss out on significant relationships.