As the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted American life, Duke University’s Office of Durham & Community Affairs redoubled its commitment to Durham. The office paired students interested in remote service opportunities with nonprofit and community organizations. As a result of this program, two Duke juniors—Yenashi Castillo Tristani and Caroline Kassir—joined our team for the summer.
Both students brought to Rebound a strong commitment to service. Yenashi is a psychology major and global health minor who one day hopes to work as a psychologist. Both of her parents are teachers at Title 1 schools. Thus, Yenashi grew up “hearing about the support that students need beyond disciplinary measures.” She chose to work at Rebound because she was “greatly inspired by its efforts toward student support and social justice.”
Raised in Washington D.C., Caroline is studying public policy, education, and documentary studies. Having tutored at both the Emily K. Center and E.K. Powe Elementary School, Caroline is passionate about promoting educational equity in Durham. Rebound’s “commitment to their students” impressed her. “Particularly during a pandemic,” Caroline explains, “Rebound’s work of looking out for those who might otherwise fall through the cracks is more important than ever.”
A rewarding (remote) summer
Despite the challenges of working remotely, Caroline and Yenashi quickly learned the ropes. Over the course of eight weeks, they worked on grant research and community outreach. According to Executive Director Lorenza Wilkins, “Demonstrating inspiration and innovation, Caroline and Yenashi have made significant contributions to summer projects at Rebound and taken full advantage of student professional development opportunities.”
For the students, working at Rebound was both educational and personally rewarding. “The best part of my Rebound experience has been working with encouraging, insightful, and helpful leaders who very clearly believe in the mission of the organization,” says Yenashi. “Additionally, I have greatly enjoyed knowing that my work is going to assist an organization I believe in to benefit a community I now belong to.”
We wish Caroline and Yenashi continued success in their academic and philanthropic endeavors. We are also grateful for Duke’s continued investment in Durham youth.