Author Cassie Chesson

It’s just like that optical illusion where some people see a vase and others claim to see two faces. Taken from different perspectives, the same thing can form markedly varied impressions.

When my fifth grade teacher offered me a spot in high school helping her with an after-school energy club for her current classroom, I was given my first impression of NEED. We passed out light bulbs, explored renewable energy, and detailed mass transportation to kids who’d never ridden a metro system and watched the wheels start turning in their young minds. The curriculum was everything it had set out to be and I saw it first-hand. The hands-on lessons hooked them and students worked harder on their grades during the week to make it into the coveted club. They were eager to teach their friends, proud when their parents bought new light bulbs for the house, and tickled about their plans to post water conservation posters around the school. Ah, how sweet and rewarding was my first impression of NEED!

Later, when I flew up to DC to work NEED’s annual Youth Awards, I got a surprising grasp on the breadth of this organization. So much more than curriculum in the one after school program I’d worked, NEED shone as a multifaceted, national collaboration. Teachers, sponsors, and students from all over proved NEED to be a self-fulfilling team effort, as so many wanted to get involved and bring more to the table, be it participation, funding, or expertise. This perspective left me awestruck at what could be done with so much energy, no pun intended.

Now, a graduate of UNC Chapel Hill and a firm believer in the power of an educated, energy-conscious society, I’m ready to bring my own skills to the table. With a background in journalism and public relations and a school year inside the public school system, I’m eager to learn from NEED’s dedicated staff and delve more into this ever-expanding project.

I am confident that this perspective, much like the many angles through which you can look at that picture, will highlight new facets of the organization I’ve yet to explore. I’m so eager to join in the momentum. And what’s so great about viewing something from many varying perspectives is that they’re often not at odds with one another at all. Instead, they’re all right. NEED wasn’t merely the curriculum I’d helped teach or the Youth Awards I’d participated in. Rather, it was the accumulation of all of the pieces I’d witnessed: engaging, fun, collaborative, and expanding.

I look forward to getting started.