Our newest batch of Program Associates took the time to get to know one another with a fun interview. It’s time to meet the new PA’s and learn some interesting facts about UI’s newest team members.
Meet Nefeteri Okine – written by Coach Alex
What a daunting task it is attempting to capture all of Nefeteri’s awesomeness in just one post! From Harvey, to the small town of Maywood where she grew up to the big city of Carbondale, Nef has staked her claim as a loyal resident of Illinois. Nefeteri began her college career by earning herself an impressive Track and Field Scholarship at Southern Illinois University where she planned to study special education with the hopes of becoming a teacher. However, plans change, life changes! Nef finished her undergraduate with a degree in Social Work! During college, she became involved with McNair Scholars and continued the education program route and zipped off to get her Master’s degree at Loyola University studying health in schools.
It’s easy to see how Nefeteri’s interest in social work, education, health and sports led her to becoming involved with Urban Initiatives! She has played an array of sports in her life including but not limited to: softball, volleyball, cross-country and track and field. But wait! The story of Nef and UI may not have transpired as linearly as you might think. You see, once she signed up to work for Public Allies (an awesome AmeriCorps program) she was quickly snagged by five different organizations for a whirlwind of interviews-none of which were UI. Those five organizations did not end up working out as Nef had planned. Why? How? Because she was simply made for UI! A Public Allies representative ultimately connected her with a crazy organization called Urban Initiatives and she walked into the interview with almost zero knowledge of the organization. Alas, here she is! Nefeteri is now a lovely Program Associate. Not only is the UI staffed thrilled about this but she is too. Nef was tired of the burnouts in her previous work places and she’s feeling jazzed and refreshed by the passion and energy that flows through the UI office.
What else is Nef excited about besides her love of Hot Cheetos, movie nachos and Lebron James?!? She’s mostly excited to see how she will grow personally and professionally in this year as a Program Associate. Although she has experience in both working with youth and coaching, she’s ready to establish herself professionally this year through UI.
Ok, now for the really cute stuff. Nefeteri married her high school sweetheart about six years ago! At her wedding, Nef was “given away” by her high school coach who she describes as her rock throughout high school and college (he went to the same college she did!). Her close relationship with her coach is one of the reasons that Nef is so excited about building relationships with kids in the UI program.
We are all so glad Nefeteri is a part of the team! Welcome!