New Perspectives

I came into this summer with numerous expectations and hopes regarding what I would experience and the skills I would gain. However, within the first weeks of my internship, my perspective quickly shifted from feeling like I had the next 5 years confidently mapped Frank blog photo 2out to suddenly feeling as though I had absolutely no idea what path I hoped to take. Though I have immensely enjoyed working on the front lines of reform each day at CJPC, my experiences this summer allowed me to also understand that working in a direct-service placement may not be where I am best suited.

Despite this, I wouldn’t necessarily say that my career goals themselves have changed, I still want to engage with public policy and advocacy. However, the field through which I hope to achieve these goals has been the main change this summer. Consequently, I sought new ways to engage with these issues and advance the goals of advocacy groups, lending organizations, and public works projects that help marginalized communities. Through this, my summer internship at the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition opened my eyes to the numerous fields that engage with these issues, many of which I had previously brushed off, such as finance and consulting.

I have become drawn to working in public finance and consulting for the opportunity to combine my aspirations of working on projects that enable organizations and governments to fund needed endeavors with a challenging, goal-oriented work environment that is rooted in collaboration and relationship-building among colleagues and clients. In the short term, my goal is to work for a firm that works with financing capital improvements to government facilities such as schools, courthouses, hospitals, toll roads, and low income and affordable housing.

Among the valuable experiences I had this summer working with CJPC was the Frank blog photo 1opportunity to examine their financial statements and write grant proposals for funding from various philanthropic organizations. This endeavor provided me with invaluable experience taking initiative and creating my own objectives for the betterment of CJPC. The most challenging part of writing grants was that I was often striving to answer questions and summarize the work of CJPC with little previous knowledge about their past programs or successes. Accordingly, I became an expert researcher and gained an in-depth awareness of CJPC’s goals. Moreover, the greatest part of this work was that I was able to make suggestions and craft an organizational plan for the future, leaving a lasting impact on my non-profit. I also gained a better understanding of the financial workings of a non-profit organization, which will serve me well in the future.

Though this summer was not necessarily the summer I had first envisioned, I am incredibly thankful to the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition for providing me an opportunity to explore my interests and engage with a vast array of projects throughout my internship. I am excited to see what the next chapter holds using the insights I have gained!

Written by Frank DiMartino, BC Class of 2017

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Coalition Building from the Ground Up

This past January, I participated in the Arrupe International Immersion Program, and had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Following my Arrupe trip this past January, I thought a lot about what I hoped to do this summer and how I could continue to engage with the lessons I had gained from my time in the DR and Haiti in a meaningful way. Most of all, I wanted to engage directly with members of a marginalized Frank Image 2community. Ultimately, I settled on the Criminal Justice Policy Coalition (CJPC), a non-profit advocacy group that works towards the betterment of the lives of people currently incarcerated in the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. Primarily, they work to reduce the stigma surrounding the way in which individuals are perceived, and advocate for treatment that respects the human dignity of every person.Frank Image 1

Throughout my first two weeks, I have been exposed to numerous projects that CJPC is currently working on, including: corresponding with individuals who are incarcerated to highlight their experiences, organizing a statewide conference on the effects of mass incarceration, raising awareness about the effects of solitary confinement, and attending meetings for various coalitions of which CJPC is a member. My Boston College education has unquestionably prepared me to successfully apply my skills towards contributing to CJPC’s work thus far.

My professors at BC have always held high standards for written and verbal communication. The rigorous training I received in my classes has been incredibly valuable to my assistance with organizing the funding for CJPC’s upcoming conference in September. This past week, I assisted in writing and editing two major grant proposals to area funders and crafted language to serve as a model for writing to individuals incarcerated across the state (our “liaisons”). BC imparted on me the ability to concisely articulate my vision and powerfully convey a particular point of view or desire.

However, I believe that BC has given me an edge not only in my ability to apply my strong communication skills towards preparing for the September conference, but also in my comfort with networking. I have had the opportunity to attend several coalition meetings since starting with CJPC, and each meeting features numerous new faces of individuals working in various areas of criminal justice reform. Because I already feel comfortable conversing with new individuals, and because Boston College has provided me the tools to know how to both approach these conversations and how to be personal yet professional, I have not struggled to form relationships with these individuals. I think that it was been incredibly beneficial for me, as I am starting to work not only with my supervisor at CJPC, but also with some of these other members of various organizations. I am thankful that BC provided me the foundation to make these connections and gain an edge thus far, and I am excited to see where the summer takes me!

Written by Frank DiMartino, BC Class of 2017