What’s Next? Fest: A Teen Resource Fair
Submitted by: Kim Jolley, Teen Programs Coordinator
One of the hardest things about being a community non-profit is deciding where to put your energy. Answering the question: “what does this community need and how can we best provide it?” is not typically very straightforward. But one of the most glaring needs we have seen in recent years are the teenagers and parents who need help with the somewhat convoluted Youthworks Application every spring.
For those who aren’t familiar with Youthworks, it is a program run by the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development (MOED) that employs thousands of teenagers at hundreds of different jobs, internships, and student experiences for 5 weeks every summer. Some of those teens choose to be randomly assigned a job, and some, like our LINK Leaders and summer classroom assistants here at Village Learning Place, find an employer during the sign-up process and then request placement with that employer. When it works, it’s fantastic, but there are numerous hurdles kids can encounter along the way. For example, remembering their Youthworks log in information from one year to the next, securing documents, finding a way to scan and upload them to the Youthworks system, or working their way through the wordy application are just a few of them.
We have long worked with our own students to help get them signed up. This year we added special hours in the library for our library staff to assist teens with their applications and will be hosting a WHAT’S NEXT? FEST: A Teen Resource fair to continue to expand our reach into an overlooked age group.
WHAT’S NEXT? FEST will feature a small college fair, Youthworks Application Assistance, and other neighborhood vendors like Mission Fit, Maryland 529, and BYKE Collective. Each vendor will feature opportunities and information their organization offers for teens and their families. There will also be food and music. WHATS NEXT? FEST will take place on Thursday, March 30 from 4-7pm at St. John’s Church, 2640 St. Paul Street. If you have a teenager, know a teenager, or once were a teenager, please stop by and say hello!
You can support college access for our young people by donating to the VLP’s LINK College Fund here!