In Their Own Words for PASA’s 10th Anniversary: Alum Raymond Fernandez Talks About Afterschool

by Michael Braithwaite, Director of Communicationsposted 6.3.2014

2014 is PASA’s 10th Anniversary and this year, we’ll have worked with 10,000 students—a big deal! Of course we’re planning a party to celebrate, but we also thought ten years in is a great time to pause and look back at where we’ve come from.

Since we talk a lot about youth voice here, we figured there was no better way to look back than through the eyes of some of the young people we’ve been proud to work with through the years. We asked some of our AfterZone and Hub alumni to come back and talk about their experiences with the AfterZone and/or Hub’s programs, as well as why they think after-school programs in general are important. We were truly moved at what they had to say.  

Raymond Fernandez 

Left: Raymond in 8th grade playing guitar at the 2011 AfterZone End-of-Year Celebration
Right: Raymond in 7th grade learning how to ride and care for horses in the AfterZone’s Equestrian Program

Raymond started the AfterZone as a quiet 6th grader. Through his middle school years, he used the AfterZone in the way that many of our middle school students do—as a way to experiment with new interests and have something fun to do after school. Raymond took a wide range of programs—guitar, basketball, manga-zine anime, an equestrian program, flag football, and more. He came to Club AfterZone and did homework.

When he left middle school, he wanted to give back to the AfterZone and participated in PASA’s Hub Internship program, where he worked with his AfterZone guitar instructor Willie Stevens to help teach middle school students in the AfterZone’s Guitar 101 program. 

Now a junior at Classical High School, Raymond still plays guitar and has taken his middle school interest in manga and anime a step further—he’s learning Japanese. 

We asked Raymond to talk about his experience with the AfterZone and why he thinks that after-school programs are important for young people.  



For more in our 10th Anniversary series…

CityArts for Youth Executive Director Barbara Wong

Alum Joely Barrios

Officer Sean Brown

Alum Kweyono Kyne