This month we wish a fond farewell to our Youth Leadership Team (YLT) as they leave their leadership posts at YouthWorks and move on to new opportunities. This year we restructured this team, to provide our youth leaders with increased responsibilities and opportunities to provide leadership to our program. During the summer of last year, we hired and oriented Robin Bonner, Stephen Li, Zakiya Percy, Svetlana Tauzhyanskaya and Andrew Wu to the team.
This amazing group surpassed all expectations of what they would accomplish. From facilitating youth workshops to preparing trainings to supporting future program planning efforts, our youth leaders have played an instrumental role this year.
Earlier in the year, we asked our YLT to prepare a testimonial about why they think that YouthWorks is an important program. Here are some excerpts from what the great pieces they wrote:
“It is important for youth to have jobs. When I say jobs, I’m not talking about doing something and getting paid for it. I’m not talking about doing something not because you want to but because you have to. I’m talking about a learning experience. I’m talking about doing something meaningful and enjoyable. That is what I do at my job. I have mentors supporting me with getting to my chosen career field. My mentors helped me develop valuable skills that I will need, in that career field. They’ve been pushing me towards the finish line and I’m really lucky to have any of this.
That is why it is important for youth to have jobs at programs like YW and not fast food places. To work at the public library or the district attorney’s office. Not burger joint and pizza shack. Without meaningful jobs, the city’s youth are basically set up for failure. We don’t need to know how to wrap burgers or fill soda machines. We need that chance to build life skills and qualities. We need to develop those competencies that will create success in our pending futures.” Andrew Wu
“As a former YouthWorks intern I can make a personal testimonial to the amazing work of the program. Once i joined YouthWorksI learned to have a new perspective on my work and what it will take for me to advance in life expecting high standards of self in anything I do. Their workshops and mentoring helped me develop my workforce skills and tackle problems with more of an open mind. They led me to my mentor former supervisor Bevan Dufty, who took me under his wing and helped me find what I was passionate about and explore my career options in public service. He showed me a side of local government that I didn’t know existed. That’s what YouthWorks did for a single individual. Imagine what they have been doing for youth just like myself. YouthWorks has demonstated the capacity to advance youth and expand their opportunities.” Robin Bonner
“This program gave me and many other youths an opportunity to experience and to explore many career fields in the city departments. YouthWorks has served over 4,000 youths in the past 12 years and they give internships to about 300 kids a year. YouthWorks put me in SFMTA in February of 2009 to have an internship. I started off the first couple weeks with just getting to know my office surroundings and doing paper work and data entry. I thought it was boring and that I wouldn’t want to have a job like this in the future. Then, I was introduced to newer and bigger things. As time went on, I got more comfortable with my mentors and coworkers. They gave me more important tasks to do. By the end of my internship, I had accomplished many feats. I was at the main desk answering phone call, watching investigation videos, and going out into the field. There was a day where I thought, “Hey, I can actually be doing this stuff in the future”. YouthWorks gave me a great opportunity to explore.” Stephen Li
We wish these amazing youth all the best in their future endeavors! We know they will go far in their chosen fields.