FAB for a summer: reflections by Lily Barsanti

The following is written by our FAB intern Lily Barsanti before she returned to school to train for dance competition. See you soon, Lily!

Walking into FAB’s little orange office for my interview in early May, there was no way I could’ve known what FAB would teach me as I enter my last week here. I’ve learned how to make deadlines, think for myself, and organize my time efficiently— over all else, I’ve learned the importance of being a good human being. What I learned in my summer at FAB can be put into my three “FAB rules”:

  1. Treat everyone with kindness.
    There are thousands of times the people around me could have defaulted to rudeness (we share an office the size of a closet with upwards of 6 people at a time.) I think the people inside of the FAB office do such an amazing job of translating their own kindness into their work. The mission of FAB is to bring our community closer together, which can ultimately be done if you treat those in the community with kindness and respect. FAB looks at everyone in the community as someone worthy of their service. Sure, we answer emails, let renters into studios, etc.— but more than that, FAB communicates with the “regulars” on the block, listens to their stories, and try to grow the focus of FAB to fit the changing community.
  2. The little things matter. A lot.
    FAB’s main goal is to strengthen the cultural vitality of the Lower East Side, but that can only be done well with even the smallest of good deeds. I have seen first hand that there is no “quick fix” to making a difference in a community. Serving your community is big job, but can be made a lot easier by doing the little things (I’ve witnessed FAB create a cardboard home for a little bird that fell out of a tree, and give water to a homeless man sleeping under our window.) More than just our big goals, FAB’s little acts of kindness make it incredibly important to so many people. FAB does not cut corners in anything it does, and taught me that going the extra mile will come back tenfold.
  3. Maintain a sense of humor.
    I applied to be FAB’s intern in the spring because the first requirement was a “strong sense of humor.” I think this speaks volumes to FAB’s mission. The work we do day to day can at some points be heavy. FAB is trying to be an inclusive, caring space in a city that is not forgiving to working artists and activists. This summer has been filled with national and international grief, and it is easy let world events make you believe that the world is a terrible place. However, when you do that, you can lose all sense of community, happiness, and love. FAB strengthens their community in times of pain— together, we grieved the horrible, then focused on the tremendously good things that still happen in the world. FAB has taught me how to move forward from tragedy with positivity and kindness.

With a summer of FAB under my belt, I’m going back to college a better person than when I left in May. FAB has taught me much more than just how to succeed as an intern, and for that I am forever grateful.

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