In the past, CRP has brought on a new MENAR fellow every year. These are recent graduates who show above-and-beyond initiative. CRP relies on these fellows for a variety of tasks. As CRP has grown, we’ve realized that one is not enough, so this year, we’re lucky enough to have two fellows joining our team.
Jessie Miller, a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin joins us as Center Programs Manager, running our day-to-day programming and helping with administrative support. CRP has added many more programs in recent years and this important job keeps them running smoothly.
Eliza Davis, who recently finished earning her degree at Tufts University, is our Women’s Programs Manager, but she’ll mainly focus on Hope Workshop. Thanks to donors, CRP secured more space for women’s activities, and Hope Workshop was the first to move in. But with growth, we realized that we needed a dedicated staff member to oversee what is now one of our largest programs. Eliza will work on coordination but hopes to shift a lot of production and leadership of Hope Workshop to the women themselves.
“One thing that I (already) love here is how helpful everyone is. Especially with Hope Workshop because we need support from so many different aspects of CRP, and everyone has been willing to drop what they’re doing and make me an app, or do anything that would helpful,” says Eliza.
It’s crucial for CRP to maintain quality over all of our programs. This ensures that we’re spending money effectively, and that beneficiaries are getting the most out of programs.
While Eliza’s role is focused on women’s programs, Jessie’s role is necessarily broad, as it includes all other programs, as well as many other day-to-day tasks that help run CRP. “I’m working largely on the back end on the organization and working on the organization of the community center to make sure that everything runs smoothly. My day starts with staff meetings and making sure that we know everything that is going on for that day, which is really important because all of our spaces are multi-use and we need to make sure that we are using our spaces adequately and nothing is overlapping. And then I make sure that employees get reimbursed for the things that they’re buying for the center,” says Jessie. But she also notes that after that, her day can go anywhere, depending on what is going on at CRP.
Both Jessie and Eliza are already excelling at their jobs and we know that between now and next summer they’ll greatly help us as we continue to grow.
We hope that this will be useful to them in their future work. Jessie has plans to go to medical school in the next few years. “I want to go into healthcare as a doctor working with refugees, so I want to get a year of experience under my belt working in a systematic setting, working with refugees and seeing what the NGO sector is doing to address basic needs and psychosocial needs,” she says of why she specifically wanted to work at CRP.
After her time at CRP, Eliza wants to hopefully stay in the region. She’s previously lived in Lebanon and wants to continue working with refugees. Who knows, maybe we’ll convince them to stay at CRP. We convinced Lilly Crown, last year’s MENAR fellow, to stick around. Lilly is now heading our monitoring and evaluation. This is an important part of nonprofit work—again, ensuring that our programs and even our basic model is effective.