social capital noun. the value of our social networks & relationships

Meet the Team: Intrepid Keystone Club

Published by Leah Mulrenan on

Meet the 2024 YGPC Intrepid Keystone Club youth team from the Woburn Boys & Girls Club and their three volunteer coaches, Shafiq Ssemwogerere, Chester Nielsen, and Andres Cuartas.

The Intrepid Keystone Club team plans to host a panel of guest speakers who will share their experiences, whether it is advocating for equality or overcoming racial inequality. Their goal is to encourage attendees to overcome these obstacles and promote positivity and inclusivity in their Woburn community.

The Intrepid Keystone Club also had a youth team in the 2021 YGPC. They were awarded $650 to host a one-day three-hour mental health workshop.

Their coach Shafiq is a versatile professional with a diverse background in healthcare, mental health, and real estate. He currently serves as the President at FIQ SERVICES INC, a realty firm. In this role, Shafiq provides expert guidance to clients and ensures the delivery of exceptional services. He also holds the position of Nurse Director at Wahidi Health Care Services, a Staffing Agency.

Shafiq believes in his YGPC youth team’s potentiality, creativity, and innovativeness in crafting ideas that benefit our communities and the generations to come. “Supporting their dreams, fostering their entrepreneurial spirit, and witnessing their professional growth is what drives me to volunteer on this project,” he shared.

Another coach for the team is Chet, the principal management consultant helping the C-suites of early-stage companies after they have received venture capital. He leverages his experience in management with a large firm, his time as a diplomat and CIA officer, and his legal degree to help his clients.

Chester shared that he loves mentoring young people so that they are as equally prepared for success as they are for failure. “Helping them learn to broaden and expand their innate skillsets the way my mentors helped me is a driving factor.”

Finishing out the coaching team, Andres Cuartas is an HR professional with over 10 years of experience. He currently works at Progress Software as a Global Compensation Director where he leads all aspects of employee compensation. Andres enjoys negotiating and influencing leaders and executives as well as telling stories through data.

Andres shared, “As someone who immigrated to the United States during my teens, I know the value and importance of strong connections and mentorship opportunities. The pitch contest has given me a chance not only to give back to my community, but also to be closer to the amazing youth of today’s world.”

The goal of SCI’s Pitch Contest is to provide youth with the opportunity to decide how to strengthen their community while practicing valuable professional skills such as public speaking, project management, and community organizing. With the guidance and support of multiple professional volunteer coaches, each youth team will develop their project ideas and be in the driver’s seat of positive change. The youth teams will also have the opportunity to participate in skill-building workshops related to team collaboration, public speaking, and pitch development.

The Pitch program will culminate on April 6th, when SCI will host the in-person Pitch Event at the Microsoft NERD Center where $14,000 of grant funds will be awarded to at least 7 of our participating youth groups. Media are invited to attend the Pitch Event. Funded youth teams will have until November 2024 to complete their respective projects and submit a project impact report.

This project is supported by Kick It for a Cause, Winning Home, Inc., Social Equity Access Fund, Gail O’Rourke, founder, Benefact4, Enterprise Bank, the AmeriCorps Agency, Massachusetts Service Alliance, and a Massachusetts state budget line item, thanks to the advocacy of State Senator Cindy Friedman. Major support for SCI Woburn is provided by Cummings Properties.