For the past 6 weeks Diamond A., age 17, and Leilani D., age 22, our Gem Project fellows, fulfilled 24+ hours of dedicated training, which does not include the 16 hours of career readiness and “next steps” session they earned during week 7 where they gained opportunities to:
- Resume + Cover letter: Coaching and Revisions
- Witness culminating projects from youth-based organizations
- Packet of local opportunities, which align with their past and new experiences
- A Gem Project Fellow- Fall Fellowship Consideration
The resources presented outside of summer programming include,
- Engage in mock interviews
- Ongoing support: digital portfolios of work that displays their resume, video clips, photos, and other artifacts and evidence of their work.
Our fellows were trained but not limited to the following topics during their summer employment:
- Facilitation,Summative Assessments, Formative Assessments, Tools of Program Evaluation, Positive Youth Development Framework, Logic Model in Program Design, Developing Outcomes & Indicators, Trauma-informed practices, Trauma on Brain & Learning, Adverse Childhood Experiences, Motivational Interviewing, Managing Difficult Behaviors, Creating Behavioral Plans, Delivering Effective Feedback, Youth Development Stages (Early childhood to Mature Teen), Testing on Myer Briggs Personality and more.
The Gem Project fellows were funded by the City of Newark’s Summer Youth Employment Program.
Our college and high school fellows worked alongside each other to work on a service-learning project, through a social justice approach. This summer’s service project was to engage 60 campers age 6-13 about the school to prison pipeline. The school to prison pipeline is a devastating national trend that pushes certain groups of young people out of school and into the criminal justice system, due to harsh zero tolerance policies
within school.Youth of color and those with special needs are most impacted.
Our fellows worked as trained facilitators who carried out our Gem Project curriculum each week, which led to two culminating summer projects that varied by age group.
Youth between age 10-13, performed monologues that voiced the real stories of justice involved youth.
Youth between age 6-9, explored injustice, discrimination, and allyship that led to a 7 foot long art project known as the “Tree of Hope.” The Tree of Hope is a 7 foot tree that displays on the trunk the thoughts of what community, crime, and school means from youth by colorful post-its. During a community-mapping activity, youth led discussions on the connections of all three, which over the course of a few weeks opened into a discussion and further lessons to the disturbing trend known as the school to prison pipeline. The youth wrote their reflections on leaves, which displayed: facts, statements and definitions learned from our camp program. Our older youth (age 10-13) also joined in this building and decoration of the tree.
Overall, the program we provided over the course of 7 weeks, which includes the additional career readiness week for our fellows was a worthwhile one. We hope to continue our fellowship program this fall at Express Newark Paul Robeson Art Galleries.
In the future, we plan to partner with many high schools and colleges with this program. If you would like to support us in our journey, please consider placing a tax-deductible donation here, volunteer on a committee, or Board open seat.
There is strength in numbers.