Cheyanne Nichter
Cheyanne Nichter and her son

This Spring, I will be graduating from Bunker Hill Community College with honors and an associate degree in Early Childhood Development. Over the course of the semester I have been working as an intern for Strategies For Children, exploring issues and opportunities in our field as well as my own abilities and passions. I have also reevaluated my goals and future pathways in both my academic and professional pursuits. As a result of the pandemic, and the fact that I live in a child care desert, I took on these challenges with my young son on my hip. 

During my time at Strategies, I saw first-hand how early childhood programs, families, diversity, sociology, research/data collection, and the pursuit of societal justice all intersect in the world of advocacy and engagement. This led me to do an independent research project that draws on my analysis of how the use of digital platforms and trends corresponds to social shifts, and how advocacy organizations can capitalize on digital resources to reach more deeply into the community. My presentation, “Modern Engagement: Making Advocacy Accessible”, covers how organizations can use interactive social platforms for effective communication and engagement. This approach uses modern communication tools and strategies that meet communities where they are, allowing them to access and participate in the dialogue and to use the advocacy resources within their personal bandwidth.

Additionally, while monitoring the daily press within our field and attending events, I began to speculate that there may be a correlation between incidents of criminal child maltreatment within child care centers and the current crisis of staffing shortages. I began to gather landscape data on this, and I began to hear murmurings on the topic within our field. I hope future interns consider building on this premise and use the information to stimulate more conversations about solutions.

As a Strategies intern, I was also fortunate enough to speak to well established leaders within the field, as well as attend webinars, coalition meetings, and Strategies’ Advocacy Network meetings. These experiences have made me feel more tuned in to our industry and confident in my ability to grow and contribute effectively. 

 My time with Strategies For Children has inspired me to expand in a new direction both professionally and academically. Moving forward, as I transfer to Lesley University, I plan to broaden my pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Spanish and include a second major in Human Services. I also hope to work in the nonprofit sector, particularly in community engagement. So far, I have been accepted into a summer internship with The Borgen Project in NonProfit Leadership. I also hope to find another opportunity to round out this experience and prepare for my resettlement back in Boston where I am excited to set down roots and work towards making more progress in our field.