Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Volunteer spotlight: Philippe Monfiston, research superstar
It would be impossible to give 1,500 kids the quality programming they receive without the help of our volunteers. This month we highlight Philippe Monfiston, who has volunteered his time since November every week in our office. Philippe makes a big difference for our development and communications team, researching prospective partners and more. He demonstrates one of many ways you can contribute as a part of our team! Philippe, a recent George Washington Master's of Public Health graduate, also volunteers with the Society for International Development (SID).
Don't wait to join our incredibly fun and growing contingent of volunteers before the season ends May 30! Find the right opportunity for you and your schedule HERE. And read about Philippe's experience in his own words below.
DCS: Why do you volunteer at DC SCORES?
It's belief in the cause. I wouldn't do it since it’s a matter of investing the money in the metro fare … everything I do -- there has to be a reason, what keeps me, and it’s the cause. When I come in and see everyone working -- and from every angle they approach it they’re really motivated -- and then I go out and I see it, when I visit games … I think it's both from the office side and the field side getting to the results of what DC SCORES has done. And the recent testimony -- I don’t really follow local politics that closely, but understanding how important it is to support these kinds of initiatives, it makes my time that much more important.
DCS: What has been your favorite DC SCORES moment so far?
I think it has to be Poetry Slam!. I went at CHEC in Columbia Heights right around when I started. I hadn’t really been to poetry slams in general so it was just like ‘let’s see how it goes.’ New to the program, new to DC SCORES, let’s just see what this is all about. It blew me away. To this day I can still remember Lincoln and Madalin's poem and the lines 'what do you help build?' or 'what do you help create?', more or less along those. lines…It was one of those things that just sticks with you. It was very powerful.
DCS: Why is volunteering important?
For one thing, as a part of the job search and it comes up in different strategies, it's getting out in the environment, making sure to interact with people. This gives me a chance to put my money where my mouth is. Yeah, it's one thing to say, 'I believe in social justice causes.' This is a chance to walk the walk. It’s a chance to show what I‘m committed to.
DCS: Why is DC SCORES important?
I think it gives the children a place to be. One concept I've come across in public health are social determinants of health. Besides just having access to care, it's also having a solid community, having an environment that fosters a positive well being. That’s what DC SCORES helps with. It gives the kids a place to be. The values it instills in the students can be used to build a stronger community -- not just physically healthy, but socially healthy as well. And with the different components. The poetry addresses children’s needs on different fronts. It’s the community aspect, the physical aspect with the soccer, with the poetry you have the self-expression in different ways than they’ve been exposed to normally. If you think about the kind of music they listen to … how many people come to them and broaden their horizons with what poetry has to offer? So certain projects may approach a specific aspect of the problem that affects DC youth, like homelessness or gun violence. But DC SCORES gets at those too and just has more diverse approach.
DCS: What do you want to do in the future?
I would like to get back to the global health and poverty reduction route. I've always been interested in the arts and humanities. I graduated with a BA in classics. I might go to a different industry and work with the humanities, but for the time being I would like to see how far I can still go with addressing global health.
DCS: What do you like to do with your free time?
Soccer! DC SCORES Saturdays, and you can find me (watching games) at Drafting Table. Also different cultural events around DC, if it doesn’t overlap with soccer games. Going to concerts, free embassy events.
DCS: What are your favorite sports, teams and athletes?
In elementary school I was a basketball fan, but over the years I've become kind of a soccer purist. It's definitely my favorite sport. The best answer is that it depends on the league or the country -- so Arsenal and D.C. United, Celtic, Barcelona, Brazil, the U.S. I like athletes that are also model citizens. I like when I see a player that comes across as a great individual.
DCS: Favorite music artist?
The Cure (among many others).
DCS: And finally, what's your favorite food?
Thai is really good. Fried plantains with fried pork. It’s a shame it's bad for you and DC SCORES promotes good nutrition!