Broadly defined, they include youth from low-income families, English language learners, pregnant/parenting teens, youth at risk of dropping out of school, involvement in the juvenile justice system, and the foster care system.
On February 21st, mentors came together for a workshop to learn more about what these barriers mean for youth, and how they can best support them through the program. The workshop began with a review of adolescent development, exploring the cognitive differences between teens and adults. To apply this information to the program, mentors brainstormed strategies to better engage teens by incorporating challenge, competition, and a variety of tasks into work. Check out the tip sheet YouthWorks has created on engaging interns by clicking here!
From there, we dove into the day to day of what it means to support a youth that identifies with one of these barriers through a role play activity. Mentors split up into four teams and were assigned a situation focusing on a different barrier. Given a detailed background story about a teen and his or her challenges at work, mentors acted out situations for the group. The activity served as a fun way to spark discussion on how to handle difficult situations.
Work experience early on is critical for teens that will face additional challenges finding and keeping work in the future. We appreciate our mentors for volunteering their time and energy to support youth through the internship.