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Staff Spotlight: Meet Tessa, Director of Education from AMIkids Miami-Dade

Mar 01, 2016
I was born in Trinidad and Tobago and moved to Miami, Florida in 2008 where I attended Barry University a private Catholic University where I received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Sciences with a specialization in Actuarial Science. While at Barry University I was exposed not only to novel academic scholarship but service learning in a profound way. I was able to apply the Catholic intellectual tradition, integration of study, reflection and action to inform the intellectual life to grow academically, personally and in a life of service.

After I graduated in 2011, I was uncertain about whether or not I still wanted to become an Actuary so I decided to explore the effects of poverty in yearlong Catholic volunteer program by living in high-crime, inner-city neighborhood in Buffalo, NY. As a volunteer of Catholic Charities Service Corps I was dedicated to four values: social justice, simple living, community, and spirituality. I was able to gain an intimate knowledge of poverty through direct work with clients (students that I tutored and mentored), in conversations with neighbors and community activists, and through discussions with my volunteer community. 

Upon my return to Miami I worked in the traditional high school setting as a Mathematics Teacher Interventionist, six months later Mr. Enrique Garcia gave me the opportunity to work for AMIkids Miami-Dade. I was not only able to apply the academic and service learning skills that I developed as a volunteer but most importantly I was able to work for an organization that challenged me to grow in a well-rounded way, provide services to a neglected population and build meaningful relationships with both students and staff.  
The AMIkids culture has allowed for me to see how my efforts as an educator and leader can positively affect youth who need more one-on-one attention in a family like atmosphere that fosters growth, promotes discipline and structure; and provides a multitude of services that allows youth to grow holistically. AMIkids has allowed me to couple my love of Mathematics, education and service learning in ways that challenges me daily to grow to be a better example to the students we service, provide exceptional educational services to our students and grow to be a positive agent of change to at risk youth.

After being with the company for the past three years I have had the opportunity to learn my role as an education service provider and learn bits and pieces of what everyone else at my local AMIkids program does to ensure that we put kids first by providing exemplary services to youth and learn how the total team functions together to earn our end goal of changing students’ lives so that they can become more productive and responsible members of society. I was able to attend the Presidential Dive Trip in the Florida Keys with four students and two of my teammates, a life changing and once in a lifetime experience to say the least. We spent a week in the Keys open water scuba diving up to forty feet, working as a team to ensure the safety of the divers in the boat and under water and building a great sense of family and community with those well deserving students.  AMIkids has been a great source of opportunity, growth, challenge, reward and joy for me personally and professional and I would recommend working or volunteering with this company for anyone who is truly passionate about making a lasting difference in the lives of at risk youth.
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