Kaila Caffey is a second-year student at Tufts University committed to social justice and creating positive social change. Before beginning her undergraduate studies Kaila was selected as a 1+4 Bridge Year fellow through the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts, and spent nine months in Cuenca, Ecuador living with a host family and working at a shelter for women and children. Joining an organization dealing with populations suffering from trauma and abuse within another culture and using a second language was not an easy feat – but Kaila stood out for her unwavering commitment to her organization’s mission, her thoughtful, collaborative approach to her work and the tremendous impact she was able to have. Once on the Tufts campus, Kaila was selected to participate in the Tisch Scholars Program - a selective, three-year leadership program focused on civic and community engagement. All Tisch Scholars work on year-long projects with community-engaged organizations. This year, Kaila is working closely with MassVOTE, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that builds civic coalitions to advocate for democratic reforms that make the electoral process more equitable. During the important 2020 election season, she supported MassVOTE’s communication, outreach, and policy teams.
Growing up as a student in the Philadelphia School District, I saw first-hand the inequities at play in our education system. I remember attending my first protest at 13 years old after several schools in the city were shut down largely due to a lack of funding from the district. At the time, I had little understanding of what all of that really meant but understood at the very least some kind of injustice was taking place. Throughout high school, I worked closely with an organization dedicated to fighting for students’ rights in the city. Through this experience I became passionate about equitable access to a high-quality education. This passion extended to an interest in equitable access to all resources children need to truly thrive after spending a gap year working at a women’s shelter. As a result of these experiences, I have come to see education and children as the foundation of our society and as vessels for change. This perspective drives my commitment to equity and justice, and I am eager to continue to learn and grow to better support this mission.