To celebrate the young people in the WorkReady program this summer, PYN launched the inaugural WorkReady Celebrations Tour. In past years PYN has had the WorkReady Expo, but this year we wanted to give our stakeholders an authentic feel for what our youth accomplish throughout the summer by taking them to worksites where the magic is actually taking place. The attendees got to visit two sites each on both August 10 and August 11 to interact with the youth and learn about their work experiences and projects.
On the first day of our WorkReady Celebrations Tour, August 10, our President and CEO, Chekemma J. Fulmore-Townsend, kicked off the tour with opening remarks during the lunch reception at the United Way Building in Center City Philadelphia. Afterwards, tour attendees were split between two buses. Bus one first traveled to Asian Americans United, an organization that empowers and advocates for Asian American communities in Philadelphia, and Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory, which instructs youth on boat building, sailing and environmental education. At Asian Americans United, youth in the Chinese Youth Organizing Program presented on civic engagement issues in the Asian American community and the voter registration work they did in the Chinese American community in Philadelphia over the summer. At Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory’s closing celebration, which was held at Frankford Boat Launch along the Delaware River, the young people at the worksite instructed our guests on how to row and even took them out on the river! They also presented their environmental science projects that focused on the Delaware River.
The second bus on August 10 brought attendees to United Communities Southeast Philadelphia, whose closing celebration was at Furness High School in South Philadelphia, and University Community Collaborative – Temple University (UCC Temple). United Communities youth gave beautiful instrumental music performances of songs from around the world and showed their videos of their community garden projects in South Philadelphia. The harvest from these gardens will actually provide vegetables to the South Philadelphia community in the fall. They also presented the magazine they published, which covered pressing political and social issues. At UCC Temple’s closing celebration, youth presented their “Art as Revolution” projects through powerful spoken word performances, a video project on the history of street art, and an in-depth video on political issues and the presidential election featuring their own newscast, POPPYN. The celebration also featured a photo gallery of the youths’ photography projects that explored social and community issues in various Philadelphia neighborhoods.
On August 11th, after a fun breakfast reception at the United Way Building, one of the buses brought attendees to Caring People Alliance, an organization in West Philadelphia that provides educational and recreational programs for children and youth. At Caring People Alliances’ closing celebration, youth from North and West Philadelphia held a science fair featuring experiments that showed how certain substances change the natural behavior of living organisms, using nicotine, tobacco, sucrose and alcohol. Our second bus took tour attendees to Urban Affairs Coalition (one of the largest WorkReady providers), which held their closing celebration at Community College of Philadelphia. At this celebration, the youth spoke about the power of their internships, the struggles they had, and what they had accomplished over the six-week period. The internships ranged from researching natural mysteries at The Franklin Institute, baking cakes at a pound cake shop, and being the director at a theater company. After these visits, both buses then proceeded to our final stop, IT Society and Research Group – Temple University (ITSRG Temple), also known as Urban Apps and Maps Studios. At ITSRG Temple, youth held an incredible fair that showcased original apps, asset mapping, digital maps, photography and soundproofing techniques. Visitors moved from station to station as the youth proudly presented their projects, discussed their summer experience, and detailed the process of their projects.
The WorkReady Celebrations tour enabled PYN supporters, partners and staff to interact directly with youth, listen to their perspectives and experiences, and learn more deeply about the unique programs that each provider designed and coordinated. Although the tour showed only a small fraction of the expansive and diverse network of WorkReady providers throughout Philadelphia, the seven provider sites that were visited still reflected the diversity and richness of experiences that WorkReady youth were a part of this summer. Without a doubt, the tour was an exciting opportunity for the WorkReady providers, and the youth as they got to host their presentations to a wider audience. We are proud and delighted to have showcased the powerful work that WorkReady programs have engaged in this summer, and we look forward to seeing what next summer has to offer!
To see more photos from the entire two-day WorkReady celebration, visit us on Facebook.
About Jason Alemán :
Dr. Jason Alemán joined the Philadelphia Youth Network (PYN) in May 2015 as Vice President, Program Services. In this role, he ensures all aspects of programming are executed successfully; including, the design, development, procurement, implementation, support, and evaluation of programmatic interventions which serve more than 15,000 youth annually. Over the past decade, Jason has built a career of serving youth and families at the local, state, and national-level through adhering to foundational macro-social work values as well as integrating research and empirical-evidence practices into organizational policy and procedures.