Her involvement with Arete as an employee began back in 2020 as a senior at The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology forming part of the internship team. She was a tutor to three 8th grade students. Being a tutor provided her with connections she did not know she would have made. She connected with her tutees on a more personal level on top of providing them with educational support during the peak of the pandemic. She noticed that these tutor-tutee relationships helped her reflect on how she saw herself in the younger kids and made her realize that she could become a mentor to them. She made sure the students felt validated about their passions. She was not just a tutor but someone that students could lean on socially, emotionally, and academically.
After being a tutor, Mariyam became a Youth Service Leadership Fellow where she conducted leadership initiatives for grades 6-12, helped with the adaptation of virtual learning and became a spokesperson to donors and guests. After this, she took on the role of Project Coordinator for Summer Bridge/Rising. During her 2021 summer role, she mainly did administrative work. Her other responsibilities involved outreach which included updating families about student progress. She also curated weekly vlogs for the summer rising program and communicated with program donors. She then got promoted to Program Coordinator for College and Career Access. Here, she oversaw high school student activities during afterschool programs and managed attendance for 400+ people. She supported weekly and monthly attendance reports for the senior leadership team. On top of that, she made phone calls and wrote letters to donors and also maintained a digital alumni database . Additionally, during her time in this role, she started up the Arete Alumni Council where they held monthly events, such as financial literacy, resume building, Feed our Needs events, and Alumni Day.
Currently, Mariyam works as an Admin Operations Associate. She is in charge of various operational needs like keeping inventory on school supplies, ordering supplies and storing items in the office, and organizing electronic files (paystubs, alumni contracts, etc.). She ensures that students get stipends in a timely manner and administers the onboarding process of staff to ensure they get offer letters. Moreover, she serves as support for human resources responsibilities. This means that she tackles operational issues, creates guides on how to clock in and clock out, provides assistance on accessing paycom and timesheets, and produces basic employee manuals. Not only is she the go-to person for employee assistance, but she also helps the President of Arete, Sarah Benis Scheier-Dolberg, find prospective donors, have access to an alumni database, and keep alumni contact information organized!
One thing that Mariyam is immensely grateful for is the ability to grow as an individual with the help of Arete. She recalled that when she first started working with Arete, she possessed a student mindset where her main goal was to just do what needed to be done; however, as she progressed throughout her various roles, she gained leadership skills as she took on more responsibilities. Through this, she has been able to tap into her leadership skills whether it be leading groups or leading behind the scenes. She is constantly pushed to do better and improve on her time management, organization, networking, leadership, and mindfulness skills. She is proud of being able to create a space where everyone is able to adapt and do what they have to do - something that Arete has enabled her to do easily!
A second thing that she values about Arete is Arete’s involvement in her life but also with everyone that is part of the organization. She became exposed to Social Emotional Learning that taught her that it is imperative to check in and make sure you and everyone around you is doing and feeling well. Having the opportunity to debrief and be mindful of these emotions allowed her and her colleagues to perform better within their roles. “Arete definitely cares about their staff!” exclaimed Mariyam as she explained that Arete asks their employees about their feelings and opinions on certain projects instead of just being told what to do. Being asked for personal input makes Mariyam feel welcomed and validated. As a former LSFT student and current Arete employee, she is able to provide a new and youthful perspective on certain events and makes her feel valued as a member of this organization. On top of that, Mariyam enjoys seeing that Arete organizes important events that are beneficial and dear to the communities they serve (Juneteenth, Feed Our Needs, hotline and family services, Eid celebrations, etc.). Also, the fact that Arete is expanding shows that they care about service and are constantly striving for more! One last thing Mariyam underscores is that although what she is studying is different to what she does within Arete, she is able to gain transferable skills that help support her career goals (youth engagement, consistency, empathy, being supported and being supportive).