Jarell Skinner-Roy: Addressing the Unjust Outcomes of Systemic inequities

At NPQ, respect for our readers’ work, intelligence, and insight is core to all we do. And, indeed, research says that the nonprofit workforce is motivated differently than the other two sectors. So, we thought we would go out and ask them. The result is this special online series that will run every workday for the next month, illuminating what motivates each of twenty profiled workers.

We think much of what they say will resonate with you, but this is also who NPQ serves each day. They are why our work is so important, and NPQ can’t exist without your contributions.

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Why NPQ serves Jarell proudly…

I had always thought that I’d become a lawyer. That was the plan until my senior year at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. I was fortunate enough to land an internship at the District Attorney’s Office, where I was a counselor and case manager in the Deferred Prosecution Unit. This was a first-offenders program that gave eligible defendants a chance to avoid a criminal conviction. My caseload of over 30 clients consisted of mostly young students of color who, for a variety of reasons, were at extreme risk of dropping out of high school. As I got to work with and know these students really well, it became clear to me that many of them did not see post-secondary education as a realistic opportunity for them. This was both heartbreaking and eye-opening for me, and helped change my focus from being a lawyer to being an educator.

Jumping ahead a few years, I am now at College Possible, a national nonprofit organization helping capable, low-income students get to and through college. Our students earn the best results in the country and continue to prove what is possible when given a fair chance at success. While we are helping students navigate and address longstanding systemic inequities that make earning a college degree very challenging, we are clear with them and ourselves that we are not saving anyone. Our students are not broken and certainly do not need to be fixed in any way. At College Possible, we are about empowering students and opening up any and all opportunities for them to pursue their dreams. I am constantly energized and motivated by the talent, focus, and brilliance of our incredible students every day. They are going to change the world.

Working in the nonprofit sector over the past few years has been nothing but fulfilling. We often hear rhetoric about the sacrifices that nonprofit professionals make, but I have never felt that way. I have absolutely gained more than I have given, and it has been such an amazing opportunity to pursue my passions alongside other dedicated people working towards the same goals. If you want to have a meaningful impact on your community and have fun while doing it, the nonprofit sector is the perfect place to be.

Why Jarell cares about NPQ…

What I value most about Nonprofit Quarterly is its dedication to nonprofits and leaders within the sector. NPQ is an incredible news source that gives nonprofits the information, tools, and resources they need to grow and become more effective leaders in their communities. I am so grateful for NPQ and everything it has to offer.