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From 5 to 16... what I have learned at Solar Youth

My name is Jacquelyn, and I am 16 years old. I attend Metropolitan Business Academy and live in West Haven, Connecticut. I have been apart of Solar Youth since I was 5 years old.

There have been some great moments while in Solar Youth. As a child, I have many memorable moments from going on trips almost every Saturday. We went to museums, parks, aquariums and on hikes. Going to those places made my childhood experience at Solar Youth really fun because we always had a great experiences seeing and trying new things. When I turned 14 and became a Youth Educator Intern, I have had memorable experiences through our camping trips in New Hampshire, staying in cabins and having talent shows. Every time we go camping we have a good time and create a bond that helps get us ready for the upcoming season. 

When being in Solar Youth for 11 years, you start to become experienced with the whole program and you learn the ropes so that you can teach others. Solar Youth has helped make me a leader because when I first started the program, I didn't know anything about how it worked. When I got to be around 11 or 12 years old I started to understand everything about Solar Youth.  Being involved in Solar Youth showed me their message; to empower youth from New Haven through a program that can connect them to their community, environment, and peers. Solar Youth also teaches youth to have lifelong success and to be contributors to their community. Learning that message, I grew up to work for them and to spread that message to new workers, teaching them the experiences that I have had.


I am so glad Solar Youth exists, I think things would be different for me if I were not apart of it. As a child I was not in day care or anything so I wasn't around a lot of children. Solar Youth gave me the opportunity to meet over 30 kids and 10-15 co workers, and I have a bond with all of them. I have met some really positive people, and being in Solar Youth I have gained a lot of social skills. Before, I was known as the "quiet kid", but now I can talk in front of groups and not get scared. 

Solar Youth has given me a second place to call home, because everyone there makes you feel at home; everyone is accepted and you don't have to act a certain way. 

Throughout the program, I have learned a lot of lessons. One lesson I will take with me after I graduate high school is to always have an open mind, such as listen to others and try to understand where they are coming from. This is important because when you enter college you have to be around a lot of people and you don't want them to think you are shutting them out.  Another lesson I have learned is teamwork. In Solar Youth, you will always be working on a team. Outside of Solar Youth, I know teamwork is important because in your career you likely will have to work on a project to get the job done. 

What I am taking away is so important because I feel like I have learned so much, and I know I can use it in the real world and it will help me go further in life. Everything I have learned is a life lesson that can help me get through all kinds of situations. Solar Youth, thank you so much for changing my life and helping me prepare for the real world.

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Green Jobs - Westville Manor Spring 2017

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