Reflections on Participation in the Pinkerton Fellowship

Nyesha Jackson, 2015-2016 Pinkerton Community Fellow

jackson-nyeshaMy passion for helping others has always been second nature. After facing years of hardships and challenges of my own, I matriculated at John Jay College to begin my journey of finding transformative work with a positive impact on individuals and my community. I applied to the Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative (PFI) because it was an opportunity to get hands-on experience within the youth justice field, which I find extremely important.

Through PFI, I was placed to work with the Correctional Services Department of the New York Public Library (NYPL). During my 15 months at NYPL, I was able to find my niche among a small tight-knit group of passionate, dedicated and intelligent women. My work included weekly visits to Rikers Island where I co-facilitated book discussion groups, assisted with Daddy & Me book recording projects, co-facilitated a hip hop and poetry program and participated in standing and mobile library services. The work was challenging yet rewarding. I personally witnessed the positive impact books had on the men and women incarcerated at Rikers Island.

My 15-month partnership with PFI and NYPL has been an extraordinary experience, which has revealed my passion to work with individuals and families directly impacted by mass incarceration. I learned the importance and urgency of the work provided by NYPL’s Correctional Services, which is why I continued to volunteer with NYPL at the conclusion of the fellowship. Fortunately, I recently accepted a position with NYPL as a Correctional Services Program Assistant, where I will continue to do the work that I love. I will graduate from John Jay College May 2017 with a B.A. in Forensic Psychology. I plan to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work. It is my goal to continue working with justice-involved individuals.