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A Golden Gate Of Opportunity

A Golden Gate Of OpportunityThrough a position funded by Tufts graduate Seth Barad, senior Vanessa Vazquez is ready to embark on a career in the non-profit sector.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [04.27.06] They come from opposite coasts and different generations, but Tufts graduate Seth Barad and senior Vanessa Vazquez have at least one thing in common: a desire to make a difference in the world. The two crossed paths recently when Barad (A'77), a native of San Rafael, Calif., and a successful businessman, selected Vazquez (A'06) to be the first Jumbo to fill a new position he created and funded-specifically for a Tufts student-at a non-profit in his hometown.

Thanks to Barad, Vazquez will launch her career in the non-profit world as a youth educator, mentoring underprivileged Latino teenagers from a Bay Area high school. It's an opportunity the Florida native and first generation American has hoped for since she was a child.

"I feel very, very privileged to be here as a first generation, having gone to this huge public school in Miami. I'm at Tufts against the odds," says Vazquez, whose parents were born in Colombia and Cuba. "I feel it would be wrong to not do something with this privilege. I've always thought that, since I was young."

Barad, an overseer at the University College of Citizenship and Public Service, is giving Vazquez, and other Tufts students who will follow, that chance. Through personal donations and active fundraising, he established the Tufts Fellowship Fund to pay for a position in an after-school program run by The Canal Alliance, a San Rafael non-profit with a strong reputation for providing much-needed social services to the community.

"They can only work with about 24 high school students at a time but when a kid completes this program they have a 100 percent record over the last five years of getting into at least a two-year community college and some into a four-year college," Barad says of the organization. "That's particularly impressive because for Latino kids in California the average college attendance rate is somewhere between 6 and 7 percent."

When she joins the organization after graduation, Vazquez will help tutor, counsel and develop curriculum, but her main job will be keeping the kids motivated and off the streets. After two years, her position will open up to a second talented and motivated Tufts graduate, which is part of Barad's plan..

"If you're a Tufts senior and you really want to get a start in non-profits, you want to get your start working in the grassroots: working with kids, or working with women or the environment," he says. "There isn't necessarily an obvious job path when you get out of Tufts. There's no training program to learn how to be a great non-profit executive or a great do-er in socially effective work."

Vazquez, a peace and justice studies and political science double major, has focused on non-profit endeavors throughout her time at Tufts. She has interned at the North American Alliance for Fair Employment, the American Friends Service Committee and an Upward Bound summer program for children in Miami. With that experience under her belt, Vazquez is excited to embark on her career this summer.

"The one requirement I had for a job was that I wanted to do something socially conscious, something that I feel has an impact on the world," she explains. "That's what I'm really looking forward to. I think that this is good work. I think it's important for people to invest in other people's education."

And so does Barad. In 1977, the Tufts graduate entered the field of management consulting at Bain & Company. After a successful corporate career, Barad began consulting with non-profit organizations in 2000 through The Bridgespan Group. He currently works independently as a financial consultant to non-profit CEOs.

"After Tufts I had always promised myself that if I'd been successful enough in the business world I'd step off the treadmill," Barad says. "I'd do something meaningful."

--Michaelann Millrood

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