An outspoken advocate for young people and their families, Tameeka Ford Norville exemplifies the term “outstanding afterschool educator.” In her ten years at University Settlement, Tameeka has provided youth with engaging afterschool opportunities, developed innovative programming, and shared her vast knowledge with her colleagues at University Settlement and in the larger field.
When Tameeka first joined University Settlement as the program director of a brand new site, she designed a new program model from scratch that complements school-day learning and provides youth with a rich array of community service, leadership development, creative arts, and recreational activities. Youth in the program play in percussion ensembles; deliver daily meals to a nearby homeless shelter; receive homework help, test prep, and academic enrichment; benefit from on-site creative art therapists; sing, dance, and act; play sports and games; enjoy special events and field trips, and much more.
In the years since she began directing her first site, Tameeka has implemented her model at three additional sites. In her oversight of the four programs, she has secured funding and expanded two of them to provide year-round service. She builds excellent relationships with the schools that house her programs, forming connections with principals, teachers, and custodians.
Tameeka shares her expertise widely both within and outside of her organization. As a manager, she maintains close relationships with all four of her site directors, serving as a mentor and fostering their professional growth. She has facilitated workshops for staff at University Settlement and other organizations, and her sites were chosen by The After School Corporation, Americorps, and the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development as models of excellence.
Although much of Tameeka’s day-to-day work now involves the administrative tasks necessary to keep the programs running, her driving force remains the youth. Her colleagues say that when it’s time to take a field trip, “you’ll find Tameeka grinning from ear to ear as she lines up buses and tickets and pictures her kids experiencing an expedition to a new and exciting place.” Whether she is writing a government grant, planning a week’s schedule, or simply helping a child with his homework, Tameeka always has New York City’s young people at heart.