Youth Show Perseverance During Pandemic
Two weeks ago, Solar Youth’s Green Jobs Internship program had a calendar full of field trips planned, including a meal with Bun Lai from Miya’s Sushi and listening to business pitches Collab’s Food Accelerator Pitch Day. However, due to Covid-19, Solar Youth had to cancel all in-person programs and be creative about how we continue connection with our youth and families (more on ALL Solar Youth is doing is coming SOON!)
The Green Jobs Interns found out about this change on the night of Sunday, March 15th and by Monday we were all working together to get everyone signed into Skype. It was a learning process for us all, including practice in communication and patience. However we did it. Everyone was able to talk to and see each other. Small wins seed future successes.
Throughout the rest of the week, the Green Job Interns made changes to their previous plans to meet the challenges of the new day. One focus this season is something called “Community Time.” It was a specific time during our program where Interns work on “Community Service Action Projects” (C-SAPs). Initially, Interns grouped themselves into two projects teams; one to refurbish the gardens in Westville Manor, and the other to start connecting with the West Rock Community. Throughout the week, C-SAPs started to change direction based on the new reality.
The C-SAP to refurbish the garden behind Solar Youth’s office began to expand, and the group is now planning to engage the community in growing its own food in the numerous garden beds found in the unused community garden beds of Westville Manor. The group working on community engagement expressed their concern for their friends and neighbors and decided to reach out to see how they are doing and if there is a way they can help. They put together a survey which has been sent out to neighbors. Next, they will find ways to support the community based on needs assessed.
In addition to Community Service Action Projects, each Green Jobs Intern is developing their own business. Business ideas are also changing to meet the needs of the new world. They not only support the Interns themselves, but also the communities they live in.
Business ideas include:
- Provide opportunities for families to connect with each other through cooking while stuck in their house.
- Give people what they need to take care of their pets when they can't afford, or can’t take them, to the vet.
- Create a space for teenagers to freely and safely express themselves through art.
- Provide community outreach on how viruses spread and what kind of hygiene practices can help keep people healthy.
These are the ideas that the Green Jobs Interns are bringing into the world. Last week they developed company visions and mission statements. This week they work on business plans and elevator speeches.
No matter which direction the world turns, when you care about what you are doing, you find a way. That is what the Green Jobs Interns are doing, finding a way.
Want to Help? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are able to provide any of the following:
Expertise/advice in the following areas
- Small business marketing
- Budgets/ Money Management
- The entrepreneurial process
- People to pitch ideas to
- Food Justice
- Sustainable Gardening
Compost and plants
- Summer Squash
- Spinach (other leafy greens)
About the Program
Green Jobs Internship focuses on Social and Environmental Entrepreneurship, providing an opportunity for teenagers in the West Rock neighborhoods to explore starting businesses that have positive impacts on the community and/or environment.