The Mission Society is celebrating this season of gratitude by shining a light on the people in our community who make our work possible. Today, we bring you the story of Senior Advocate Counselor, Elizabeth Brown-Whetstone, who found her first home for learning at Minisink and later joined our team to uplift a new generation of students.
Before Elizabeth Brown-Whetstone joined our staff in 2009, she was already a member of our Mission Society family. Like many of our students, Elizabeth’s mom worked and needed a safe place for her children to go after school. That space turned out to be our Minisink building in Harlem. It’s where Elizabeth and her siblings found enriching academic programs and vital social emotional support. In her own words - ‘Minisink is where I grew up.’
Now, Elizabeth is cultivating that same supportive environment as a Senior Advocate Counselor for our Level Up program. Each day, she provides life-changing counseling services to help our students overcome the barriers standing in the way of their academic and career success. In one moment, you’ll find her guiding a student through important housing applications. In the next, she’s ensuring a participant has access to professional clothing for a job interview. For Elizabeth, there’s no task too big or small, as long as it sets her students up to thrive.
When asked about her proudest moments, Elizabeth speaks first about the achievements of others. She celebrates students who have graduated after overcoming substance abuse, and those who continue to come to school in the face of housing and financial insecurity. For her, Level Up is the ‘second chance program’, one where every person who comes through our doors has the opportunity to shape their future. She leads this charge with enthusiasm and an unparalleled commitment to community - demonstrating to students that she cares 'not only about their education, but about their everyday livelihood.'
Elizabeth’s story deepens our understanding of why our academic and social emotional programs matter. The moments we share in our schools have the potential to serve students for a lifetime, something that is evident with Elizabeth and the many young people who have crossed her path. Thank you, Elizabeth, for sharing your energy, compassion, and talent with our community. From your time as a participant in our programs to working alongside our students today, we are so grateful that you are a part of the Mission Society family!
Before you go - to continue our celebration of gratitude, we asked Elizabeth to tell us why she's Grateful for School. Check out her answers below, and join our celebration on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook by sharing your most meaningful school moments!