Professional Development

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Next Gen Leaders: Where Are They Now? AJ Frigillana

Tuesday, 29 September 2020 00:00

When AJ Frigillana first received the news she was being honored as part of the 2019 class of NAA's Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders, she was filled with immeasurable joy and gratitude.

"It was during this time that I felt my life's work of creating intentional spaces for identity and social justice work was truly seen," said Frigillana, who at the time served as Multicultural and Identity Based Programs Manager at The Richmond Neighborhood Center in San Francisco. "I stood alongside accomplished, like-minded individuals, and was truly inspired by the work my fellow Next Generation Leaders had done in their own spaces."

Frigillana, who is now Camp Director at Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, says this motivated her to continue seeking out excellence in her career and push herself to constantly grow as a youth work professional.

In her new role, Frigillana is able to carry on her passion for culturally responsive teaching and work toward ensuring justice is at the heart of all the work she and her team do.

"While my role is different than the one I held at the time of being honored as a Next Gen Leader, my values are stronger than ever," Frigillana noted. "I'm looking forward to implementing more project-based learning and youth leadership in my programming. In a typical camp season, most of my days are filled with joy, silliness, and endless possibilities for teaching and learning moments. It is camp, after all!"

As a youth work professional, Frigillana explained, the possibility of burnout always seems to be just around the corner.

"You pour out of your cup so much that you can forget to refill it!" she said. "The Next Gen Leader award experience reminded me that an investment in my own professional growth and development is an investment in my work. It reinvigorated the hope and drive that guided me at the beginning of my career."

"I cannot thank the NAA team enough for putting on such an impactful experience and I am grateful for the ties that I have with this community."

Nominations for NAA’s Next Generation of AfterSchool Leaders Award 2021 opens soon! Information on the nominations will be posted here.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for AfterSchool Today.