By Mavis Bortey-fio, Development Manager
I have had quite the journey in my six months at IEA.
After the first few weeks, I was crying at work while listening to Yunasa Leadership 2 campers. Over a temperamental flame, these young leaders spoke about difference Yunasa made their lives. I felt connected with their bittersweet pain, leaving the place that gave them the strong wings to fly solo.
As time passed, I found myself incredibly confused. Sitting in the back at an EXPLORE Culmination Celebration, I was stupefied by the externship projects of high schoolers. While I could not entirely grasp their presentations, I understood enough to see the feat performed by these interns. In just a few weeks, these gifted youth acquired palpable new skills and relationships.
I was then jerked out of my confusion by kid-sized giggles. Those small giggles belonged to students with adult-sized ideas and innovative thoughts on how to best rule a country and how 3D printing can solve the world’s most pressing problems. Their ideas were just as infectious as the giggles, as I found myself laughing and dreaming, too.
I was pointedly escorted back to reality, however, as I stepped foot into my first CDB interview. In this new reality, seventh graders had the poise, smarts and promise of my own peers. I sat in awe of young people fiercely advocating for a chance at a life-changing scholarship. Though I had official interview questions, all I really wanted to ask was: how did you end up here, so inventive, inquisitive and insightful?
Though a whirlwind, the best part of my IEA journey has been watching the journeys of hundreds of gifted youth across the nation unfold. I am privileged to witness social, intellectual and emotional breakthroughs of children, to speak with parents about the support and community they have found. Above all, I am privileged to contribute to an organization that gives its community, both young and old, the gift of belonging and the ability to see giftedness as just that – a unique and beautiful gift.
This Giving Tuesday, please Join me in the Journey by giving to IEA. There are so many ways to help gifted youth reach for the intellectual and personal potentials:
- You can give of your time: Consider volunteering at IEA. Click here to learn more.
- You can give of your resources: Consider donating an in-kind gift to IEA; click here to email IEA program coordinators and remember that when you shop on Amazon through this link, AmazonSmile donates to Institute for Educational Advancement!
- You can give of your voice: Spread the word about the needs of the gifted child to your friends, family, local elected officials and more. to shift the way our nation thinks and serves gifted youth.
- You can give of your funds: For over twenty years, IEA has provided refuge for almost 10,000 gifted youth and their families. We cannot continue this work without your support. At, IEA 87 cents of every dollar go right back into serving our community. Click here to donate today.
In my time at IEA, I have witnessed levels of giftedness and growth that could change our world, all due to the innovative enrichment programs and services of IEA. Please Join the Journey this Giving Tuesday and beyond, joining with IEA, and me, to forge a brighter path for gifted youth and their families.