Aaron’s Summer Intern Experience

by Derrick Duplessy
Aaron’s Summer Intern Experience

Aaron was our first summer intern. These are his words and thoughts about working with us and what has learned…

Aaron and Derrick

Thanks to New Sector Alliance, this summer I have the chance to work with the Duplessy Foundation. I really enjoy working with my supervisor Derrick Duplessy, the fellows of the mentorship program, as well as numerous supporters and volunteers who share the passion and devotion to the cultivation of artistic and entrepreneurial talents in the least developed neighborhoods of the city.

Derrick is a great person to work with. He is engaging, resourceful, and helpful. He is a great communicator, but at the same time a great listener. I can see that he is a great mentor. He is always understanding, patient, and respectful. At the same time he is always engaging, encouraging, and creative in finding solutions.

The reason I chose this organization out of the numerous host sites I interviewed through New Sector is that I really like the mission and the goal of the organization: to cultivate local talent and train leaders and entrepreneurs to revitalize the least developed communities in the city. As one of the supporters of the organization Nikhil says, many of the times, most of us don’t have the luxury to pursue our dreams. We might love graphic design and have great potential in that area, but usually we are reluctant to pursue our dreams because of external pressures.

Indeed, we usually lack the confidence in ourselves, and we are risk-adverse because we didn’t have experience in running or starting an enterprise. We need a push, a word of encouragement, the awareness to better ourselves as entrepreneurs and leaders. We need the right person, usually a mentor, to encourage us, and to give us guidance, advice, and sometimes directions.

Such a person seems difficult to find in the less developed neighborhoods. Many of the bright and talented youth are unaware of the opportunities and possibilities around that. They have little role models to follow. Few mentors to encourage and guide them. They might have the talent, but many of the time we are afraid to cultivate it and to use it to its full potential.

I can see that the Purpose Fellowship is trying to fill the gap. The program is encouraging and helping the creative and talented young people in these neighborhoods to purse their dreams and purposes. I see that Derrick constantly challenges them to break off their comfort zones and showcase their talents. For example, he challenges Laura, our poet to read her poems in public and challenges Lydia, our violist to perform in public.

I also see that Derrick has provided great personal support to the mentees. A few mentees recall that Derrick always picks up his phone whenever they are looking for someone to talk to, even if it is three in the morning. It can be family problems, academic difficulties, anything. Laura thinks that the program is like a family, a community, and support system. Advices about time management, business etiquettes, and personal organization are constantly part of the dialogue. I overhear them repeatedly through phone call check-ins, the chit-chat before and after micro-venture sections, and beyond.

From the fellows, I know that the program supports the mentees financially to pursue their dreams. For instance, the program sponsored Jay, our photographer, to take the Artists’ Toolkit class, offered by the Arts and Business Council in Greater Boston. Mike, our sports broadcaster is sponsored to take a college writing class to polish up his communication skills. This year, mentors and volunteers initiated a business project, called micro-venture, to provide hands-on experience for fellows to run a business. With these supports and exposures, I see that these young talented and creative people have the audacity to pursue their dreams and purposes.

The summer working with Duplessy Foundation was a great experience. I have to thank Derrick for your support and encouragement and I have to thank my dear purpose fellows who spent a great time with me. I hope the organization can keep its momentum to create greater impact in the least developed neighborhoods and I wish more young creative minds can harness their opportunities and pursue their purposes and to serve and revitalize their communities.

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