Since completing TeenQuest, Dondré Young has been very busy. After graduating from Southwestern Academy in 2010, he attended Michigan State University’s James Madison College where he obtained a business degree with a focus on social relations and policy.
When Young graduated from college, he was afforded the opportunity to work as a lobbyist and policy assistant at the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. After his time there, he worked at the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation where he served as a program assistant managing a grantmaking portfolio focused on addressing freshwater challenges, particularly those in the Great Lakes.
These steps guided Young to his current position as an AmeriCorps program officer for the Michigan Community Service Commission at the Department of Health & Human Services.
About the last 8 years, Young says, “It has been a blur.”
Although personal dedication is the key to his current success, Young knows that it all started with his time at TeenQuest.
“I knew TeenQuest was going to set me up for success,” says Young. “I knew had to follow all the rules in order to get a job, but I didn’t see the whole value until after I graduated.”
Below, learn more about Young’s journey and how TeenQuest helped him on his way.
What is your favorite part of your current position?
That I can provide hands-on technical assistance. In the private foundation sector, you are not able to provide hands-on assistance all the time. But because I am in Flint, I can drive to the Crim Fitness Foundation, for example, and provide specialized technical assistance to their AmeriCorps team.
How did TeenQuest help you on your journey?
It taught me that your interview starts when you pull into the parking lot. That really resonated with me. Before I took TeenQuest, I would have said it started when you shake hands with your interviewer.
What else did you learn?
The importance of collaboration. In high school, I did not like team projects because there was always one person who didn’t seem like they were doing their part. But later, I realized no matter how fast or slow someone is working, we are all a team. It is incredibly important that we are all on the same page and understand that we all need each other to reach the common goal.
What is your favorite memory from TeenQuest?
We created the very first TeenQuest brochure. Our facilitator provided us the opportunity to create a brochure that was used for some time after we left. For the longest time, I had people call me up and say, “You’re the TeenQuest guy.”
What advice would you give to current TeenQuest students?
Always be willing to listen to everyone, regardless of their social class or economic status. I don’t care if the person is the CEO or the janitor, you can learn something from everyone. I do this in my current position because it helps me understand the goals and values of an organization.
TeenQuest and Summer Youth Initiative are made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.