Author: David Martinez, GreenLight Boston Summer 2018 Fellow


Let’s take a journey behind the scenes at GreenLight Boston…

My time at GreenLight was nothing short of busy…the good kind of busy. There was so much to learn and so much to understand about what makes GreenLight “glow” (as cheesy as that may sound). As an educator for several years, a Boston Public School graduate, and a current grad student at Temple studying Urban Education with a concentration in Policy, I understand that issues in a city like Boston can feel unique. While this is mostly true, there are a lot of similarities between the plight of residents in cities across the country. With shared challenges, we have hope: it is what we share in common that makes bringing in an innovative solution from across the country possible. And that solution, identified by community and research, paired with local talent experienced in working in Boston’s communities, makes that hope a reality. I have learned about the GreenLight Fund method, which is simple: collectively uncover the need and look for innovative means toward a solution.

My days have been spent immersed in literature and research related to outcomes affecting low-income children, families and communities of color in Boston.  I met with people from the community that have their ‘ear to the street.’ Through my conversations with people from different sectors, organizations, and neighborhoods, I am able to understand the challenges faced by residents in a more holistic way.

Balancing Numbers and the People Behind the Digits

As a graduate student at Temple, I truly understand the value of research and the need for quantitative metrics and data to understand a problem. What I have learned through my experience at GreenLight is the value in qualitative data gathered through lending an open ear to hear the stories of people within the community.

I have once heard it said that, our perspective on a situation is very much akin to seats at a stadium. The person sitting behind home plate and the person near the Pesky Pole in right field see the Red Sox play in very distinct and unique ways. I believe the strength of GreenLight is that we are truly gathering the best numbers and stories from a diversity of lenses to better understand problems, and ultimately bring effective solutions. I am realizing more and more our intrinsic need to solve the greatest issues in our communities in partnership with each other. Never has the adage felt more poignant, than now: “it takes a village.” GreenLight reminds me more and more how it takes people working together for the common good to make a difference

And for that reason, I am more than excited to have had the opportunity to learn and work with GreenLight.

Moving Beyond GreenLight

It is bittersweet looking at the close of my time with GreenLight Boston.  I am extremely grateful for the time I have spent and the relationships that have been birthed out of my experience here.  

Writing this brings some sadness, as I consider what it means that in a week’s time I won’t be taking a train into this city, and I won’t be able to see the team that I have grown to truly appreciate and care about. I guess it’s a little more bitter than sweet

Thank you GreenLight. And, thank you for traveling with me through my GreenLight journey. 

While my time at GreenLight ends, there’s still an opportunity for you to help shape this city I call home. Please feel free to reach out to Melissa Luna to join our vision of creating a Boston where all can reside and thrive.