Meet Leslie Rivas - a third year student at Lehman College studying English Creative Writing with a minor in Middle and High School Education!
Her journey with Arete started during high school at The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology where she and her friend, Chanel (also an Arete employee), started up an afterschool Book Club. This idea came to be after Leslie and Chanel happened to be discussing about books they previously had read in middle and high school. Both had the brilliant idea to organize a space where a group of students could gather together and read books they’ve heard about and give an honest review of what they thought as they read.
“Starting up a book club made me realize that I actually enjoyed reading and it also made me realize that academically, I did well in my English classes,” exclaimed Leslie. In retrospect, this experience, that Arete fostered, allowed for Leslie to grow a passion for literature and become an English major in college and aspiring to become an English teacher. From this moment forward, she began to feel connected with Arete as they helped fund the program and gave them the opportunity to propose different ideas for their book club. On top of that, she was able to see first-hand what Arete’s mission was - acquire brand new books that may not have been accessible through LSFT and receive small journals for note taking.
During her senior year of high school, Leslie also formed part of the tutoring internship program. She recalls that being part of the internship helped her grow as a person and professionally. Around the time she had joined the program, she was still confused on what college she wanted to attend and what she wanted to major in. However, being able to work with students one-on-one made her realize that maybe she could go into the field of education. As a tutor, she also developed leadership and effective communication skills while also learning how to multitask.
Not only has Arete helped Leslie academically, socially, and professionally grow within the organization, but also through external partnerships. During the summer of 2022, Leslie was able to work with Funfab where she gained more experience in working with high school students. Leslie is grateful to Arete for presenting her with an excellent opportunity where she could network outside of Arete. Here, she would apply the experience she had gained through her previous work within Arete while also gaining new skills necessary for the education field.
Now, she is currently a Book Club and Table Tennis instructor for Arete. Her scope of work as Book Club instructor consists of getting students to have an interest in different books and increase their reading scores. As for table tennis, she facilitates an environment where students are able to learn a new sport and develop many different skills, such as hand-eye coordination.
“Through Arete, I am able to solidify my leadership and organizational skills by working with students and being able to run a club.” Leslie reiterates that these roles helped her flourish professionally by also challenging her to work with different kinds of kids, making her figure out and use different methods that work with each kid individually. Not only is she gaining personal skills, but also gaining insight on different age groups and teaching styles that she can use to approach others!