The UNH Blog

Looking ahead to Youth Action Day

Monday, January 29, 2018

by Caitlin Praimnath, UNH intern

When I was 14 years old, I had my first job. I was a babysitter for a family friend who was in need of someone to look after her two children while she went to work for the summer. Being my first job, I was excited to have something to do during the summer and to finally have some money of my own. That experience allowed me to be referred to other parents in my community who were in need of a babysitter. In that single summer, I learned problem solving, creativity and patience, all skills that probably would have taken me much longer to learn than 3 months. Those opportunities allowed me to have job experiences that taught me valuable skills that I could take with me to future jobs and memories that would last a lifetime. From my first job as a babysitter, I quickly saw the importance of having a summer job. It gave me the opportunity to make money of my own, contribute to my community and carve out my future.

Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to attend a Youth Action Day training at Queens Community House. I was accompanied by Gregory Brender and Latoya Leslie who both led the training. As someone who has never attended Youth Action Day in Albany or had any prior experience with the Summer Youth Employment Program, which gives NYC teens the opportunities I had at 14, I was very interested to learn more about the purpose of Youth Action Day, the potential opportunities for young people my age and what takes place at a training event.

When I arrived, I could not help but notice the amount of teens there were. I was impressed to see there was approximately 25 students sitting around a table on a school night in the late afternoon dedicated to learning what to expect on Youth Action Day and how they could contribute. To start off the training, each student had the chance to share if they ever had a summer job and why they felt having a summer job was important. I noticed many students had great reasons to share why they felt summer jobs were crucial and presented many opportunities yet not many of them ever had one. Similar to my experience, one student mentioned that having a summer job allowed them to put experience on their resume while another mentioned the responsibility they would have by making their own money. As the training continued, the clearer it became that this was the aim of Youth Action Day. An amazing goal to get more summer jobs available for people like me so that those who have not had a job, have the opportunity to do so and gain valuable skills.

As the training continued, Gregory and Latoya explained what advocacy is and how the students could effectively do this in Albany. These students were passionate not only about obtaining additional jobs for SYEP but also the ways in which they could contribute and advocate for this cause in Albany. It was a great experience to see students excited about going to Albany to advocate for a cause that they were passionate about. The training did an excellent job at explaining why Youth Action Day is an important event to be a part of and how young people just like me could help make an impact and benefit from it. Overall, the training was a great way for these teens to learn how they too could advocate for summer jobs, what they could expect while there and get them excited to head to Albany for Youth Action Day and see change happen.

If interested in this amazing opportunity, Youth Action Day is on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 with several bus departure locations throughout NYC. 

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