This summer, the City of Cambridge hired over 40 youth to be in the 2019 YouthWorks program. These young people worked in a range of places, including city youth centers, arts programs, a hospital radiology department and a youth environmental entrepreneurship program. All of the youth participated in Signal Success training to prepare them for the workplace. Youth were appreciative of the information they learned through the training, stating that, “The workshop made me realize the type of job that would fit my personality and attitude.” “All the information about how to stay professional really helped me.” One youth shared that “[The] workshop has changed how I approach conflicts in the workplace. It exposed me to new tools that can make my experience safe and enjoyable when something brings me too much out of my comfort zone.”

Youth also performed well in their worksites. Supervisors shared anecdotes of the youth showing initiative, displaying a positive attitude, and motivating others towards a high standard. Many made mention of the growth that the youth experienced over the course of the summer. One supervisor noted how the young person at their site was nervous and shy when making a presentation, but “as the weeks went by, he showed more confidence.”

Cambridge Community Television (CCTV)’s Xia Rondeau had overwhelming praise for their youth, Yanka.

This summer Yanka was hired to be a Teaching Artist at Cambridge Community Television, which was a huge professional step. Although she held the same title last summer, this year she advocated for greater responsibility and sought a more challenging, involved role on staff. In response to this and out of full respect for her abilities and character, I assigned her the role of co-coordinator of a Virtual Reality module we offered teens this year. She also took on the administrative role as point person between the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program and CCTV. For all of these new challenges, Yanka not only shined and rose above and beyond the call of duty, it was evident over the course of six weeks that she is a young person filled with endless growth and potential, which in the right circumstance can accelerate her development in profound ways. Yanka started the program slightly hesitant in her voice and authority with our young people, and by the end one would not be able to tell her apart from a seasoned educator.

Congratulations to Yanka and the rest of the YouthWorks youth on a job well done!