Jam Pak News

Because of your wonderful generosity, Francisco Briseno was able to accomplish a most significant step in his education. Susan and Howard Anderson flew with him to Washington, DC on Sunday, February 21st. My daughter Jenny DuFresne, founder and head of school for Septima Clark Public Charter School, met them and thus began Francisco's week-long adventure. On Monday and Tuesday he volunteered at her all boys school helping in the classrooms. Then, best of all, he played banjo for most of the classes as the introduction for the banjo curriculum which is in the planning stages. On Monday night Jenny took him to see the Wizards play the Bulls-pretty exciting.

On Tuesday afternoon Jenny delivered him to the 4-H convention center where he stayed until Sunday the 28th. Susan loaned him a digital camera and he took nearly 600 photos, some of them in video format. It was fascinating for me to see the project through his camera lens, but most fascinating and gratifying for all of us was to hear the detailed explanations of the many activities this rather reserved and quiet person encountered. He was in a small group of 25 other young people from around the nation. They participated in a long simulation revolving around a national crisis. Francisco served as Director of the National Security Council. That sounded very exciting. He visited the Military Court of Appeals and had his photo taken-his little girl cousin said, "He looks like a senator!" One of his favorite visits was to the Chinese Embassy. Another was to The Supreme Court. He participated in classes with distinguished national leaders. They had a time for exploring government careers revolving around foreign service, the military, national security and diplomacy.

It seemed from all he related to us that he made the very most of his opportunity. He made it a point to sit at a different table each day during meals so that he could meet new people. For lunches, which weren't provided, he tried different foods each day instead of just grabbing a hamburger. His favorite meals were in China Town and at BWI where Howard got him crab cakes and shrimp. He felt respected among the other young people and instructors and they are all planning to link up on Facebook. One of the primary objectives of the National Youth Leadership Forum is just that-to introduce the importance of networking. Even the importance of learning to shake hands, remember names, conversation starters were part of the curriculum. And, of course, professional dress was required. Mark Anderson, former Arizona State Senator and Representative, took him shopping and helped him assemble a really fine wardrobe which he'll have for years to come. His comment after he got home: "I plan to make use of the clothes and not just leave them in the closet."

Sixteen people contributed the funds for his tuition, flight, wardrobe, and some spending money and it's been money well-spent. He made the most of the experience and will be able to approach the university experience and career exploration with a lot of confidence. I believe that we have all done a good thing to support this young man.

Francisco Briseno Travels to Washington D.C


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