Meet The P.O.P Team
“I was honored to be a part of the Mellowhood Foundation POP Team. We had a very strong team with a diverse crew that had different assets to offer. I was able to get to know and engage with community members, parents, officers, stakeholders, school staff, other team members and youth on a much more personal level. The youth and families in our community trusted us and would often seek our presence. They would seek us for help or when they just needed someone to talk to. Knowing that our youth and families felt they could trust and confide in us was a very rewarding feeling. Many of the youth we served did not have trusted adults that they felt they could count on outside of school staff and to know that we could fill that role was an honor. We would often help our youth problem solve, deescalate tension/arguments, assist with homework, connect them to resources, look for employment and fill out applications. We were trusted positive role models that the youth could count on to help them when needed or when they just needed someone to vent to without feeling judged. Many of the parents and school staff would also seek our assistance when there were concerns in school or at home. With the pandemic we also had to be creative and find ways to still serve our families and make sure their needs were being met and they were safe. We did this by delivering meals and vegetables to family’s homes and assisting with community Covid testing sites.
POP added value to our community by allowing our team members to be a familiar, trusted, positive and consistent presence in our community to youth and families. Many of our youth and families felt safe and comfortable with our team because we did not judge and many of us could identify with the struggles that our families and youth are going through. Seeing a familiar, trusted adult presence in the community made parents and youth feel safer.
My overall experience working for The Mellowhood Foundation was extremely positive. I always felt supported by our Director Coach Assad and our team members. We had a strong, diverse team that cared about the community we serve as well as fellow team members. This was the most rewarding job I've ever had, and I truly hope we are able to continue in the future. I always looked forward to coming to work and engaging with the youth and families we served.
My favorite part of being part of POP was engaging with the youth and fellow team members. My favorite memory was the holiday dinner POP team members and youth cooked and ate together on Thanksgiving 2019 at Blackhawk Church.” - Elizabeth
“I felt that POP brought a positive face around the community. We were somebody people in the community felt safe coming too whenever there was a problem or just wanted to talk to someone. Just being there for people to interact with everyday made a difference to not just kids in the neighborhood, but also the adults. People looked forward to seeing us around and I think it gave them a sense of security as well. I feel the position I worked in added value to the community because it makes people feel protected and supported. Us walking around makes the kids feel more comfortable to come outside and play with us being around. They know that we are not just there for them, but there for their families because we provide support with food and try to help any family that needs help in the ways we can. My experience working for POP was a great experience. I got to meet some very good people that I still talk to as of right now. This experience has helped me become a better person by helping me with my communications skills and to realize more about what is going on in these neighborhoods and how I can be of help. My favorite memory about the job was giving out veggie boxes to families who needed the support of food. I enjoyed giving back to them and it feels good doing something good for people that really appreciate you and not receiving anything in return. Working with families that needed food definitely felt great because it is a situation everyone has faced or known someone that has faced the problem, so it can be easily related to and I know how much they appreciated the help. I appreciate being given the chance to be on the POP team.” – Marquise
“Working as a People on Premises (POP) team member for the Mellowhood Foundation was a rewarding, growing, encouraging, and impactful experience. It was awesome to support the youth and connect with the community.
Most of the moments that stood out related to connecting with the youth. It was really cool to see the youth genuinely excited to see us each day. They were willing to share the joys and difficulties of their lives with us and include us in them. Seeing them listen and follow some of the wisdom and advice we shared was neat to witness.
One of my favorite memories was when we made a Thanksgiving meal with the youth in 2019. We gathered in a church kitchen and each of the youth picked a dish to help cook. There were plenty of spilled ingredients, but there also was plenty of laughter and smiles. In the end, we all sat together at a long table, shared what we were thankful for, and had a huge buffet of delicious food and lots of leftovers.
Being able to consistently be present in the community was a very powerful thing. It enabled us to be trusted by members of the community. We were able to offer a listening ear and encourage them in difficult times. It also led to some fun moments, such as some youth smiling and waiting to have a snowball fight with us as we rounded the block. The constant presence in the community allowed us to build a number of connections, even in the winter months of COVID.” – Tyler
“In my eyes POP was great in the community whether it would be speaking to kids in the neighborhood to assisting adults with daily struggles. Pop was a team effort we all worked as one to complete the task at hand. I personally don’t deal with people too much, so it gave me an outlet to kinda get things off my chest that I really had no one to talk to about. I just liked the vibe. It wasn’t like we were enforcing anything, more so just wanting to assist in the improvement of our community. We really made a bond with the community as well as each other and it was definitely a great experience. Not often are you gonna see a program like this, so I wouldn’t just sell us short to say we helped the community. POP showed me different and made me look at things from different aspects rather than just be objective about things.” – Dwight
“As a member of the POP team, I feel that I was able to make connections to the communities we worked in to guide youth on the path to pursue education, information, and positive community connections. Additionally, the POP team was able to bridge a ‘need gap’ this summer by partnering with other organizations to deliver fresh produce and meals to families in the community who may have been experiencing food insecurity.
This past year brought to light the many injustices and continued discrimination that people of color experience throughout the US, particularly at the hand of police forces and in the social service arena. I feel that the POP team functions as an alternative to policing and builds trust between community members. Additionally, the POP team provides youth in the community with positive mentors and serves as an alternative to police intervention where young people can express themselves freely without fear of police retribution or violence.
I loved being a part of the Mellowhood Team and working as a POP team member. I really enjoyed getting to know members of the community and build relationships with youth while having fun together.
There was one day over the summer that the POP team had a water/slime “fight” with some youth in the Meadowood neighborhood. It was really fun to see all of the kids, parents, and others in the community come outside to all have fun together. I also enjoyed getting to work with the Public Health Department at Covid-19 testing sites and get the word out about the importance of testing and getting yearly flu vaccinations. I think that health care is a vital right and it’s something that I am very passionate about so I’m glad I was able to be a part of that initiative!” – Madeline
“I started shortly before the P.O.P. team ended for the year so although I didn’t have a lot of time to make an impact, it was easily seen how the P.O.P. team already made an impact in the community. It was easy for me to follow the example other team members set forth to try my best to make an impact in my short amount of time. I was able to pass out veggie boxes and meet people in the communities and families who needed the services. I felt giving families food made a big impact and it was nice to know they knew who we were and could trust us. Along with being able to hand out fresh vegetables, I think just being present made an impact. I know we add value to the community because we are there for families in need and we try to keep kids out of trouble and get them involved in positive activities. As for my team members they were very accepting of me and brought me up to speed quickly. We also developed a good camaraderie. And my favorite part about the job is being involved in the community I grew up in. I hope this initiative can continue in these communities.” – Marcus