Tuesday, December 23, 2008

North End Stories: Tierra Gaskins

Tierra Gaskins is an 18-year-old North End resident and a recipient of NEAT’s new College Scholarship program. She is the first “NEAT Kid” to go to college.
“NEAT has given me the opportunity to do things” Tierra moved to Ferry Street when she was 10 years old from Rochester, NY where she said there was nothing to do but hang out at the playground. Living across the street from the old NEAT office on Ferry Street had a big impact on Tierra and she did do a lot of things. She helped make the original community garden on Ferry Street, build the Dream House, participated in the DaVinci Club where she worked on two documentary videos about the North End, participated in the mentoring program, helped build the Amazing Rowing Machine, regularly attended the math homework group, and has hiked regularly with the NEAT hiking club including all 4 overnight trips.
“Through NEAT I have learned that anything is possible, climbing Mount Washington taught me that.” Tierra also says she has learned teamwork in the video and boat-building project. At the math group she learned to ask for help. Tierra looks back and appreciates how people pushed her to achieve in school and give back to her community. She is now working in an after-school program and is a positive role model for other kids.

Tierra says the bonds she has formed with people, kids and adults, has been the best part of NEAT. She says “I wouldn’t be where I am today” without the friendships and mentoring that she has experienced as a consequence of NEAT. Tierra is proud of the fact that she is the first person in her family to graduate from high school. She is currently attending Middlesex Community College and is looking to transfer to a four-year college to study computers. Tierra was one of three recipients of NEAT scholarships presented for the first time this year at the Annual Garden Party in August.

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