The UNH Blog

UNH Intern Reflects on SYEP Experience

Monday, February 05, 2018
by Vincent Li, UNH Intern

My experience with SYEP was so much more than just a first job and a paycheck. It was a way for me to understand the importance of responsibility and self-confidence while making connections with lifelong mentors and companions along the way.

When I was 16 years old, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work as a camp counselor for Chinese-American Planning Council, a UNH member organization, over the summer break. I still remember receiving the news that I was selected for the SYEP program to work. I recall being so excited that I called every single one of my family members to tell them that I was treating them all to lunch with the money that I earned from my first job. At the same time, I was disappointed because I heard that my peers did not get selected for SYEP by the lottery system. It is definitely unfortunate that nearly half of the applicants for SYEP are denied summer jobs and the opportunity to develop new skills because of the shortage in slots due to limited funding.

As a communications intern for United Neighborhood Houses, I had the opportunity go back to CPC to meet with several young adults during their preparation for Youth Action Day. During the training sessions, we all spoke and exchanged our stories and experiences about SYEP. Most of the participants shared their experiences about how they have been applying for SYEP for years but have never gotten selected by the program once. The participants that had a summer job shared that their experience with SYEP was meaningful and important for their personal development and growth. I truly believe in the efforts for advocating for the Summer Youth Employment Program to reach a broader availability for the city’s youth and young adults.

On January 30
, there was a great gathering of young adults from all over the City at Youth Action Day in Albany to support and campaign for summer employment. More than 300 young adults spoke to their state representatives about the necessity and benefits of SYEP. I hope that the lawmakers heard their message, because SYEP helped me discover my career path and it can help others, too.



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