This June, the Community Building & Organizing Department (CB&O) at Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven (NHS) welcomed a summer intern, Ian Boyce.
Ian is a rising junior at the University of New Haven (UNH), where he studies Criminal Justice with a concentration in Investigative Services. “Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always had this sense of justice. I always thought, ‘Oh, that’s not fair.’ I guess I’ve always been wanting to seek out justice for others.” Ian said.
Two years ago, Ian had his first visit to the City of New Haven when he toured his school. “When I first walked through the city, I definitely saw a lot of its positives and negatives,” Ian recalled, “I saw a lot of opportunities for people to express themselves and get to know one another.” Ian’s first impression of New Haven was of its endless opportunities.
Ian was selected as one of The President’s Public Service Fellows. This fellowship places UNH students in a nonprofit or public service work environment for 11 weeks during the summer. It was the first time that Ian had heard about NHS when he read his summer fellowship information. “I was very intrigued. As soon as I heard the name NHS, I instantly went to Google. I started doing some research on what NHS has done in the past.” Ian was impressed by NHS’s community involvement. “I think what was really nice was seeing how NHS directly influenced the lives of those who live in the community by giving them affordable housing; seeing the transitions of once abandoned or burned townhouses look brand new again. It was shocking.”
As Ian became more familiar with the services and events of NHS, he tried to participate as much as he could. Ian took the lead in Clean Up New Haven, a project that aims to give a fresh look to the streets by having people pick up garbage. This is the most crucial project for Ian. “I’ve gone up and down different streets picking up garbage,” he said. “I was able to talk to a professor at Yale who is now taking that garbage that I’m picking up and using it as research in his classes. One thing led to another. Something small that I thought I was doing is becoming a lot bigger.”
Ian didn’t stay in the streets. He even tried to clean up trash under the water. Magnetic fishing became a recent hobby of Ian’s. It refers to searching in outdoor waters for ferromagnetic objects available to pull with a strong neodymium magnet. “A lot of it is like the mystery of what can be uncovered under the river. Something else that I found out while doing that is there’s a lot of pollution that we can’t see that’s under the water. As much as we like to pick up plastic bottles, straws, and cigarette butts off the street, it’s nice to see how we can remove trash we can’t see.” Ian said.
Other than cleaning, Ian participated in maintaining multiple community gardens. He worked with other volunteers such as New Beginning Recovery participants, students from Choate Rosemary Hall, and individual volunteers on various projects. “It’s really great to be able to collab and work on a bigger project with each other,” Ian said.
His favorite part of his internship at NHS is working closely with people in the community. “The best thing that this internship has given me is the opportunity to interact with those within the community, whether it would be residents or other people trying to just do better for the community. It can be on a larger or smaller scale, but being able to interact with all sorts of people that I would never have in the first place is really nice.” Ian is now working with Dan Gries, a mathematics and computer science educator who creates art in his spare time to deconstruct an art project due to an environmental issue at the New Haven Armory.
“Since starting at my fellowship site, Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven, I’ve discovered more about myself and my probable future. The work I have done over the summer has made me consider pursuing a career in environmental services. Criminal justice is an important component of environmental protection by enforcing environmental laws and investigating related crimes. I have always been knowledgeable about the environmental challenges and concerns that we face, yet I had previously underestimated how passionate I am about finding solutions to these challenges.” Ian wrote this reflection in a prompt from his fellowship program.
Ian’s fellowship end date is early August, but this is not the end of NHS and Ian’s friendship. He wishes to come back for more volunteer projects with NHS. “I’m hoping to continue after this internship. I really hope that Stephen (Director of CB&O) and Adam (Community Engagement Specialist at CB&O) can give me a call if they need some ideas on a project, or if they need an extra man on board because I would gladly do so.”
Passionate About Trumpet and Music
In addition to his schooling, Ian participates in the university marching band and jazz band to pursue his passion for playing the trumpet and composing music. “I’ve been playing trumpet for about 10 years now. It’s a huge pastime of mine. Whenever I’m stressed out, I just need to relax or get out of whatever work environment I’m in, I would go down to our local band room and play whatever I can.”
Cannot Retrieve His Magnetic Fishing Device at Beaver Pond Park
When UNH marketing team came to film Ian at his internship, Ian showed the crew how to do magnetic fishing at Beaver Pond Park. After putting the device into the pond, Ian couldn’t retrieve it. “It (device) latched on to a much larger piece of metal within the pond. I’m not exactly sure what it could have latched on to. It could have been piping under the pond. It could