Zoe Randall, a third year student at Cornell College, is dedicated to working with children and youth development programs to help alleviate the cycle of poverty that exists. During her Cornell career, Zoe has volunteered on- and off-campus mentoring and providing programming for children. She works to engage children in soft skill development that will help pave a path for their own future. Through her first-hand contact, Zoe has seen the systemic issues related to education and development and is working toward reducing some of those impacts. She understands the root causes of social issues and asks the why questions to uncover new mechanisms for social change.
My interest in helping to give children the resources they need to succeed in order to help end the poverty cycle first started when I was an intern at Four Oaks. Here I began to learn about the challenges underprivileged kids face and how it effects both their achievement, health, and even life expectancy. During my internship I also began volunteering at an after-school program that Four Oaks runs at Cedar Valley community, a development at which Four Oaks provides housing for a subsidized rent. I have begun working with the staff to create programming that helps teach the kids soft-skills such as work ethic, listening and communication, and teamwork. We use games to engage the youth, these games positive-reinforcement and a structured environment while getting them excited about activities that also help them to learn. By creating effective programming that could be transferable to other youth groups at similar communities we can help kids learn the skills that they need to be successful and break out of the poverty cycle.