Adan Martinez—2014 Fellow

Adan Martinez

Year: Class of 2016
Major: Latin American Studies and Political Science
Organization: Urban Boatbuilders

I worked with Urban Boatbuilders (UBB), and as the name implies it’s a youth development organization that fosters leadership and professional skills through the construction and use of boats. I advised Urban Boatbuilders through two projects: non-profit legal work and volunteer management. This project was a compromise that I brokered when I arrived to the organization so I could do my independent project. Volunteer management was by far my favorite project because I incorporated ideas that I had learned in my Cultural Anthropology class. This meant conducting interviews with 16 different stakeholders, formulating their perspectives into common themes and formulating my findings into a palatable presentation. I later presented my findings to the Program Committee and Board of Directors, which adopted my recommendations and created a new Volunteer Coordinator position for Urban Boatbuilders. But I would have to say that none of my research compared to the experience of taking boats out to play with throughout the Twin Cities.

The Chuck Green Fellowship was truly an eye opener to the realities that non-profits face. It gave me the tools and skills necessary to communicate my project in an effective manner.  It gave us the independence to decide for ourselves what we felt was important to us. For me, that meant finding an organization that embraced both woodworking and alternative forms to the criminal justice as part of its mission statement. At the end of the experience, I learned how society should not anchor themselves to one form of pursuing “justice” but rather embrace the alternative forms of justice that are derived from community based involvement.