Ready Today, Prepared for Tomorrow
By Kelsey Lindberg, CTEP AmeriCorps Member at Roseville Library
A lot of middle and high schoolers don't really know what's out there in life after high school. In fact all five of us AmeriCorps members in the CTEP Civic Engagement group, “Ready Today, Prepared for Tomorrow,” wished we'd been exposed to adult readiness programs that spoke to us about the many opportunities and possible obstacles post high school. This reflection motivated us to facilitate adult readiness workshops for youth at a community partner organization, the JK Movement, that integrated media making and community engagement.
After some brainstorming we came to the conclusion that we needed to touch on multiple subjects to create something useful, relatable, and exciting to teens. These subjects include college, trade schools, student debt, gap years, traveling abroad, volunteering/serving, work-force readiness, and community engagement. As you can imagine, this is a lot to cover in a matter of few days while staying relevant to our young audience. Along with providing teens this exposure, we wanted our program to have a digital literacy component.
Thankfully, this challenge was made a lot easier with the help of our amazing community partner Johnny Allen at the JK Movement, a mentoring program aimed at improving school achievement, attendance, and behaviors for youth participants.
With Johnny’s help we set off to start working with a group of seventh grade girls at the JK Movement. We first focused on job and career readiness. The girls gained exposure to future career options that utilize their skills and interests. They practiced responding to interview questions, built impromptu speaking abilities, and asked questions about CTEP members’ experiences with life/career paths.
We then dove further into career options and provided the youth with packets personalized for each of their chosen dream jobs. Each packet included information about the level of education needed for their job, typical yearly income, tuition costs, scholarship opportunities, and schools that are highly regarded in their chosen fields. Also, we explored ways to travel abroad, gap years, and how service opportunities like AmeriCorps may be beneficial.
Once we covered jobs, education, and post high school opportunities it was time to show the girls the importance of looking outside one’s self and toward their community. At the JK Movement, there is a great emphasis on giving back. Using digital storytelling, we wanted to give the girls a skill in media while bridging a generational gap with their community elders at a nearby senior housing facility, King’s Crossing.
We trained the girls in video production basics and took them to interview the community elders. During the interviews, the youth and the seniors experienced the joy of having open conversations and learning from one another. On the final day of programming, the girls will be hosted at SPNN for a viewing of their mini documentary and tour of SPNN while learning about the opportunities in SPNN Youth.
With the end of our project around the bend, we find ourselves grateful for the opportunity to meet the amazing young ladies at JK Movement and to provide them with an adult readiness program we never had.
Civic Engagement Project: Ready Today, Prepared for Tomorrow
Project Members: Connor Rohwer, Malik Martin, Elijah Schenk, Michael Alada, and Kelsey Lindberg
Community Partners: JK Movement and King’s Crossing
Each year our 35 CTEP AmeriCorps members choose community action projects that make a contribution to bridging the digital divide. The CTEP civic engagement projects are often cited by CTEP AmeriCorps members, staff, supervisors, and community supporters as one of the most unique and energizing parts of the program. This is one of the 2019 civic engagement projects.