Investing in the Future
What does it mean to invest in the future? To set aside funds for a rainy day? To buy a high quality product that will last for years to come? For graduating senior, Anita Kimaiga, investing in the future is about educating children and ensuring that the future generation is better off than the previous one. “There are so many children who are not getting the education they deserve,” Kimaiga says. “It’s heartbreaking.”
Kimaiga interns as the community meeting director at Prodeo Academy, a public charter school in Minneapolis. Kimaiga began this internship through PSY 3996: Psychology Internships, a course offered in the Department of Psychology. In addition to her job title duties, she wears a number of hats, from assisting teachers to compiling presentations for parents on what their students have learned each week.
Kimaiga’s interest in early childhood education stems from her upbringing in Kenya. “I was fortunate enough to go to private school, but my neighbors, who were not as fortunate, went to the crowded public schools,” Anita says. “I found it very unfair that simply because I had the means, I could get a better education, while my neighborhood friends could not. This inequality is what drew me into early childhood education and psychology.”
This sense of unfairness at the disparity of privilege and access to resources remained with her after she moved to Minnesota eight years ago, and led her to embrace her internship at Prodeo. Prodeo Academy is the type of place that cares deeply for its students. Kimaiga recalls an example of this dedication when the academy provided books for a student who did not have books at home and it was having a negative impact on the student’s education. As Kimaiga puts it, “I’ve never seen teachers care so much. There was a particular incident involving a student who wasn’t doing great with reading, but the teacher realized this problem was stemming from a lack of books at home.They remedied this by ensuring that the student always had books to take home with them each day.”
In addition to her work with Prodeo, Kimaiga is also an active member of Black Student Union and African Student Association. After graduation, Kimaiga plans to continue to invest in herself and the future: she’s applying to master's programs in early childhood education. “If I could make the slightest bit of difference, the smallest impact in someone else’s life, it’ll be a ripple effect. I can help someone else to make a difference as well.”