Y’Noka Bass


2017 recipient of the Audrey J. Harris Summer Internship Award


Interned at the Goodman Community Center

I am a senior graduating in the spring of 2018, receiving degrees in Legal Studies and English with a certificate in Criminal Justice. Upon graduation, I intend to go to law school in the Fall of 2018, in hopes of becoming a juvenile defense attorney.

This summer, I interned as a Partners for After School Success (PASS) AmeriCorps Member at the Goodman Community Center here in Madison, WI, where I spent my time mentoring and aiding youth from the Madison Metropolitan School District. I also used this time to examine the Race to Equity Baseline Report and the role of after-school programs in curtailing the racial and socioeconomic disparities. In my role within Goodman, I witnessed how after-school programs affect the daily lives of youth through fruitful curriculums and intentional programming. I also used this time to engage in professional development, and learn new strategies, such as social and emotional learning (SEL), to better understand and help youth manage their emotions.

Before the summer began, I was unsure whether or not I would be able to work with youth. Both young and malleable, youth are a vulnerable population who require a substantial amount of patience, time, and attention. All of my life, I have witnessed my mother work as a juvenile probation officer in Los Angeles County, California, where she completed her work with the utmost tenacity, dignity, and compassion. Because of this, I have found myself following in her footsteps, so to speak, as I plan to work with juveniles and juvenile offenders in the future. Even more, I hope to leave a lasting influence on juveniles just as mother has done, within her role, for the last 30+ years. Although the nights might be long and the work might be vigorous, my mother’s resilience and empathy has reminded me that I, too, am capable of making a lasting difference.

As the summer concluded, I accepted a part-time role within the Goodman Community Center as the Middle School PASS AmeriCorps member for the 2017-2018 academic year. Nonetheless, this would not have been possible without the Audrey J. Harris Endowment Award. I am beyond grateful for their generosity and contributions, allowing me to do some much needed work in the lives of youth and the Criminal Legal System. Thank you, once again, to the family of Audrey J. Harris and the Criminal Justice Certificate Program for awarding me with this opportunity.