Life is a tapestry woven by the decisions we make and at the age of 16, I have made decisions that have provided me with an unusual perspective on life. My name is Deborah Adekunle. I am a high school senior in Providence, RI, and a third-year intern with PVD Young Makers

A few years back my family and I immigrated to this country from Nigeria with big hopes and dreams. It was a rough transition for me in this new and different environment. My wonderful mother worked two jobs to make ends meet and provide my younger sister and me with the essential recipes for a bright future. This meant that she was leaving us home alone after school by ourselves with no other companionship. That was a quick, very boring phase of my life. I personally hate being idle, I have always needed to be busy. When I met Ms. Denise (Wanskuck library director), I grew fond of her, as she did of me. She was my first adult mentor in this country and she might not know this but her guidance made my transition a lot easier and hopeful. Denise made me a volunteer at the library and she ultimately offered me a position as a PVD Young Makers intern. That was the beginning of the rest of my life. 

PVD Young Makers provided this unique hands-on, student-led learning experience that not only taught me real-life skills but also helped build a platform to spread my wings, find my passion, build my skills, and work on what I am most eager about as a student, advocacy and change–which are the driving forces behind my fight to help other students find their place in our education system. 

I have continuously advocated for after school programming to be the model for our school classroom because like PVD Young Makers, it has proven to cater to all types of students regardless of backgrounds and challenges. It is no surprise that children thrive in an environment that fuels their fire, an environment that holds their passion at core. I have taken the leadership of PVD Young Makers Hack-Education initiative to provide an education system by the students for the students, move away from the outdated, conventional way of teaching and jumpstart revolutionary ways of learning. This is especially important during these chaotic COVID-19 times. All my experiences have shed more light on how I view my future goals of working in the infant developmental psychology field. As you can see my tiny wings are widespread but I wouldnā€™t be this person without PVD Young Makers. The team saw me as a person, helped me discover my passion, and supported my growth.