Acknowledging My Inner City Privilege

by Oscar Castillo


This is it! We have reached the start to our final week as SLU PIC Interns. I think there is no doubt that SLU PIC has worked for me, as it has equipped me with non-profit skills such as grant writing and social networking. SLU PIC has served to make me realize how privileged I was to grow up in a city where I had access to high quality museums. After travelling the North Country through NCCM’s Summer art studio exhibit, I noticed that there is a desperate need for an organization like the North Country Children’s Museum. In every summer event, children enjoyed every second of what we had to offer. Not only did our art studio exhibit serve local families and organizations, but it helped us gain acknowledgement from the communities that hadn’t heard about us.

Since the last blog post, things are slowing down as I approach my final days with NCCM. I actually spent a few days shadowing the museum’s treasurer, Suzanne Manory. Sue and I took some time to look over the grant I am writing to the Allen Foundation, which funds nutritional education projects. We plan to have a kids’ co-op section dedicated to teaching kids about healthy eating as they shop in our pretend healthy market. Having Sue as a supervisor for this grant helps our chances, as she is also a registered dietitian. In addition, Sue broke down some of the payments the museum has made in the past months and how it affects our overall budget. For example, the kids’ co-op section was supposed to have a sugar shack component, but we had to cancel that due to the recent large purchase of the building. It was great to shadow Sue for a few days as I got a different perspective from one of the board members. Sue and I also met with a manager from the Excellus Bluecross/Blueshield because they donated $4,000 toward the museum’s kids’ co-op section. We gave the manager a rundown of what’s going to be where in the building, and she seemed very satisfied with her donation.

So the question now is “What’s next for me?” I hope to continue being part of this revolutionary project in the North Country. I want to see this project unfold as I have two years left at St. Lawrence. As of right now, like all the board members, one of my biggest goals is to see those doors open this coming February or March. It has been an honor working with SLU PIC and the North Country Children’s Museum as I have gained multiple life-long career skills and experience. If someone would have asked me as a college freshman, “How do you see yourself in two years?” My answer would have never been “Helping open a museum at 20 years of age.”