Left to right: Teambuilding at Nomads Adventure Quest; Spring 2011 Public Education Forum at City Hall; On The Highline (NYC)
Solar Youth’s Green Jobs Youth Development program (GJYD) is an after-school and summer internship program that hires teenagers and provides them with opportunities to develop their job and leadership skills, learn about the Green Jobs industry, and realize their role as positive agents of change in their communities. Like all Solar Youth programs, the main goal of the GJYD is to nurture youth who are happy and healthy stewards of their lives and communicates who are prepared and motivated to succeed in life. GJYD is offered in two New Haven neighborhoods, the Westville Manor and McConaughy Terrace public housing developments, with high teenage unemployment and few supports or resources for positive youth development or job training. GJYD hires youth ages 14-18 from a competitive pool of individuals from these neighborhoods who meet the minimum requirements and have successfully completed the application and interview process. Once hired, youth become Green Jobs Interns (GJ Interns) and receive a stipend for the work they do and the knowledge and experience they gain. Many of the GJ Interns have previously participated in a Solar Youth program, either as Interns or younger Stewards. During the Fall season, GJYD is a ten-week program held four days a week for two and a half hours a day, with the GJ Interns split into two groups that meet separately, two out of the four days. During the Spring season, the program lasts for 11-weeks and is held four days a week for two and a half hours a day, similar to the Fall season. Green Jobs Youth Development is a core program of Solar Youth’s “Cycle of Stewardship,” a menu of programs that allows youth to learn about local ecology and participate in outdoor adventures, build on their experiences, maintain relationships, progressively gain more leadership skills, become positive change agents in their environments, and then serve as role models for younger children. Green Jobs Youth Development, like all programs, follow Solar Youth’s unique program model: Kids Explore! Kids Do! Kids Teach! Following this model, youth investigate the local ecology of their community (Kids Explore!), identify environmental issues that affect the health of people and the natural environment, and seek solutions through a process of problem-solving and youth led action (Kids Do!), then teach what they have learned and accomplished to others through public education projects (Kids Teach!). The expected outcomes for Solar Youth programs are: x A demonstrated development of, at minimum, nine of the Search Institute's 40 Developmental
Assets (the building blocks of positive youth development, the possession of which has shown to PAGE 1
have significant effect on youth's ability to resist negative influences and achieve success in adult life). The Developmental Assets we will measure are within the categories of 'constructive use of time,' 'empowerment,' 'commitment to learning,' 'positive values,' and 'social competencies.' x A demonstrated increase in environmental knowledge and commitment to environmental stewardship. Solar Youth’s program curriculum’s aligns with Connecticut State standards for science learning and complements what youth are learning in the classroom during the school year. In addition, outcomes for Green Jobs Interns include: x A demonstrated increase in understanding of best principles and practices of leadership and
Green Jobs skills; and x A demonstrated development of employability skills, such as timeliness, public speaking, personal financial management, work ethic and a commitment to excellence. Finally, as a result of implementation of youth-led Community Service Action Projects (C-SAPs) and Public Education Projects (PEPs), Green Jobs Youth Development contributes to an ecologically healthier and more environmentally conscious City of New Haven and its environs.
PROGRAM DEMOGRAPHICS During 2011-2012… Total Enrollment Hours of Program Offered Out-of-Neighborhood Adventure Trips Youth-led Community Service Action Projects (C-SAPs) Youth-led Public Education Projects (PEPs)
27 190 7 3 6
Female Male African-American Latino/a Caucasian Other
F2011 53% 47%
S2012 42% 58%
80% 20% 0% 0%
67% 33% 0% 0%
From left to right: Boat-ride around NYC; GJ Intern face-painting at GJ Spring Extravaganza; Front yard beautification project in progress.
Fall 2011 – Spring 2012 Green Jobs Curriculum Environmental topics addressed and activities conducted during the Fall and Spring included: Sustainability Invasive Species Green Buildings Climate Change Green Jobs Industry
Gardening Green Belt Movement Environmental Justice Consumerism Landscaping
Soil Erosion Life Cycle Assessment Nature Conservation Air Quality
Developmental topics addressed and activities conducted during the Fall and Spring included: Job Interview Skills Resume Writing Presentation Skills Teamwork Skills
Goal Setting Time Management Work Ethic
Positive Change Agent Financial Management Professionalism
Kids Explore! As part of every Solar Youth program season, youth not only have a chance to explore their local ecology, but they also participate in several out-of-neighborhood explorations! Fall Explorations Ropes Course at the Children’s Home in Cromwell
Bioneers at the Bay: Connecting for Change Conference
Kellogg Environmental Center
Descriptions GJ Interns learned the importance of teamwork and the difference between healthy and unhealthy risks through various teambuilding and low to high ropes course activities. This full day trip allowed the GJ Interns to work together and trust each other through exciting, challenge-by-choice obstacles that emphasized teamwork. A select group of GJ Interns were able to attend this three-day, internationally acclaimed conference in New Bedford, Massachusetts, with all expenses paid. They were able to collaborate and brainstorm with a diverse group of their peers and adults, from all over the Northeast, on issues about food and farming, health and healing, green business, indigenous knowledge, environmental and social justice, women and youth empowerment, spirituality and sustainability, all working to catalyze a movement to heal our world. The conference also emphasized the importance and power of youth voice. GJ Interns investigated the impact humans have on the planet by calculating their environmental footprint, thereby showing them the amount of land and water they need to support their lifestyle. Then they compared their environmental footprint to those of people from around the world. Lastly, to further illustrate human’s carrying capacity, GJ Interns participated in an interactive simulation to demonstrate how much the earth can support different human activities. PAGE 3
Trail work at West Rock Park
Nomad’s Adventure Quest
New York City Day Trip
An opportunity to put into practice their role as Community Stewards, GJ Interns witnessed the damage caused by invasive species and used various tools to remove targeted invasive species and improve trails. Solar Youth’s first-ever college tour was offered to GJ Interns. A two-day trip visiting four colleges and universities (Wesleyan University, University of Connecticut, Fisher College, and Northeastern University) in Connecticut and Massachusetts, culminating with attendance to a live University of Connecticut Men’s Basketball game at the XL center in Hartford, CT. GJ Interns were able to interact with current University of Connecticut students through panel discussions at the H. Fred Simons African American Cultural Center and the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center. Descriptions With Green Jobs in two neighborhoods this season, this trip was a vehicle for forming bonds between the two groups and amongst each group. GJ Interns formed cross-neighborhood teams and learned the importance of encouragement, teamwork, and healthy challenges through various activities at Nomad’s. As a culmination of a productive season, the GJ Interns experienced the city of New York in sustainable fashion! The day started off with a tour of the Highline, a former elevated NY central railroad that was redeveloped into an aerial greenway, emphasizing the field of public preservation and architecture. We learned NYC history via a boat ride around Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. We then went to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and saw exhibits that examine how design responds to pressing contemporary needs, like food security in developing countries and sustainable practices in an urban setting in everyday life. The day culminated with a visit of the Central Park Zoo. Throughout the day we discussed Green Jobs based on what we saw and experienced in the city, from architecture to zoo keepers.
From left to right: Intern-led parachute game at GJ Spring Extravaganza; Interns pose on boat ride in NYC; Interns take a quick break for a picture during the GJ Spring Extravaganza.
Kids Do! After exploring their outdoor surroundings and participating in adventures further afield, youth identify an environmental or community issue they want to tackle, brainstorm solutions, develop plans to address the issue they have chosen and then implement and evaluate their project! We call this the Community Service Action Project (C-SAP) Cycle. Engaging in the C-SAP Cycle allows youth to hone their problem-solving skills, cultivates in them an identity as agents of positive change and makes their community a healthier and more beautiful place to live! Fall Community Service Action Projects
Through Our Eyes (Westville Manor)
Spring Community Service Action Projects
Social Issues Awareness (Westville Manor)
Hunger Awareness (McConaughy Terrace)
Descriptions This season, GJ Interns identified several social issues in their community and city that they felt needed addressing. The issues were: drugs, youth violence, peer pressure, role models, lack of respect for the environment, the seclusion of Westville Manor, and lack of police presence. GJ Interns were grouped by interest and researched their respective groupâ€™s issue. They decided to create a movie discussing these issues. GJ Interns were involved with every aspect of developing this movie from storyline to filming. A song about lack of respect for the environment was also written and recorded by the GJ Interns and included in the movie. Descriptions
From personal experiences and interactions with other members of the community, GJ Interns found noticeable issues plaguing Westville Manor, including drugs, violence, and racism. GJ Interns decided to brainstorm slogans and artistic representations of alternatives to these social issues and made pins with these slogans and drawings. Multiple pins with various visuals and slogans concerning the issues of violence, racism, and drug use were created. From both personal experiences and research, GJ Interns at McConnaughy Terrace found that many people are unaware about how to combat hunger and what resources are available for those who are food insecure. GJ Interns compiled lists of New Haven soup kitchens and food pantries in a format that would show the recipient which places were open for every meal of every day of the week. They then typed up a letter to all residents, outlining facts about hunger in CT and New Haven and the purpose of their C-SAP. The letter included a list of soup kitchens and food pantries in New Haven and was distributed by the GJ Interns.
Kids Teach! Stewards conclude the season by developing Public Education Projects (PEPs) that educate their peers, parents and general public about environmental and community issues that they care about. By designing and executing a PEP, youth have the opportunity to be recognized as public “experts” on important issues and “re-learn” important lessons from the earlier part of the season. Fall Public Education Projects
CSAP Movie Viewing
Public Education Forum
Spring Public Education Projects Social Issues Awareness Pins (Westville Manor)
Hunger Awareness Letters (McConaughy Terrace)
Public Education Forum
Descriptions Green Jobs Interns planned and facilitated a fun and educational event on Halloween. They named the event Eco-31 due to the purpose they wanted it to serve; they wanted to create an opportunity for everyone in the neighborhood to come together and appreciate their community and surroundings. The event was comprised of 10 outdoor stations that kids, ages 2 – 12 and their parents, visited and were able to learn about three main topic areas: Westville Manor, Solar Youth, and the environment. After answering a question or performing a specific act, the youth received candy! GJ Interns were in charge of each station along with the aid of several Leaders-in-Training youth. After the GJ Interns’ C-SAP movie, Through Our Eyes, was completed, they held a movie viewing, popcorn and all, for local Westville Manor residents. Through this viewing, the GJ Interns were able to educate others about these pressing social issues that are impacting them in their neighborhood and city. GJ Interns participated in Solar Youth’s end-of-season celebration at Yale’s Afro-American Cultural Center, where GJ Interns presented what they learned and accomplished over the season to youth in other Solar Youth programs, family and friends. Descriptions The Westville Manor GJ Interns created over 40 pins that spread awareness on various social issues, including, violence, drugs, and racism. The pins were distributed to participants of Solar Youth’s Spring Public Education Forum. The McConnaughy Terrace GJ Interns wrote a one-page letter and included facts they researched at the library about hunger in Connecticut and New Haven. Together with the list of New Haven Soup Kitchens and Food pantries, GJ Interns created a packet, fastened with a bow and delivered it to residents of McConnaughy Terrace. GJ Interns participated in Solar Youth’s end-of-season celebration at New Haven’s City Hall, where GJ Interns presented what they learned and accomplished over the season to youth in other Solar Youth programs, family and friends.
From left to right: Interns prepare C-SAP Hunger Awareness packets for McConaughy Terrace residents; Intern holds up a group of donated Hostas that he dug up; Finished Westville Manor C-SAP Social Issues Awareness pins.
Solar Youth’s Evaluation Process Solar Youth measures its programs with a combination of evaluation tools, including Pre/Post surveys, Portfolios (evidence and examples of youth community service and public education work), Youth Feedback Forms, Family Feedback Forms, and Community Feedback Forms. The feedback forms are based on best-practice evaluation tools developed by the Search Institute. Our pre/post survey, which measures ecological literacy and leadership knowledge, aligns with Connecticut State standards for science learning.
Youth Development Outcomes (Number who submitted feedback surveys: parents = 26; GJ Interns = 12)
CATEGORY Youth Development Outcomes Prompt: “Because of Solar Youth…” Empowerment Adults in the community value GJ Intern Young people are given useful roles in the community Commitment to Learning GJ Intern is actively engaged in learning GJ Intern is motivated to do well in school Positive Values GJ Intern likes to help others GJ Intern is more accountable for his/her actions Social Competencies GJ Intern’s planning and decision making skills have improved GJ Intern has learned to be a better friend GJ Intern is more sensitive to the feelings of others
% OF PARENTS WHO AGREED
% OF GJ INTERNS WHO AGREED
88% 81% 88%
83% 67% 50% PAGE 7
Environmental Outcomes GJ Intern’s knowledge about the environment improved GJ Intern is more responsible about the effect he/she has on the environment Quality Assurance I would recommend Solar Youth to my friends/other parents I would like to (see my child) attend Solar Youth next season
From left to right: Front yard beautification at 8 Lodge St (before); Front yard beautification at 8 Lodge St (after); “Meet the Professional” with Dan Britton from Sunlight Solar.
Jobs Skills and Long-Term Outcomes (Number of Interns who submitted feedback surveys = 23)
CATEGORY Employability Skills Outcomes “After being an Intern in Solar Youth…” I feel that my timeliness has improved. My preparation skills have improved. My public speaking skills have improved. My personal financial management skills have improved. My work ethic has improved. My commitment to excellence has improved. I am more likely to use appropriate language in the workplace. I am more respectful of my fellow co-workers and supervisor. I am more willing to try new things. Long-Term Impact of Solar Youth “My overall experience with Solar Youth, both this season and in the past, has…” Prepared me for future employment. Encouraged me to continue my education. Encouraged me to live a healthier lifestyle.
% OF INTERNS WHO AGREED
70% 78% 78% 74% 74% 82% 83% 91% 91%
91% 91% 83% PAGE 8
Motivated me to seek out opportunities to help my community. Helped me to develop a more positive sense of self. Taught me to consider the impact of my actions on the health of the environment.
91% 91% 91%
Quotes and Testimonials Green Jobs Parents: “I think this program is good for teenagers and small children, they get to see new things and a new way of thinking.” “Thank you for giving the opportunity to my child working with you in Solar Youth and helping others. God bless you.” “[Martineesha] is more interested in planting flowers in our backyard and she tries to convince me to condition the backyard and go buy certain plants.” “[Because of Solar Youth] I Green Jobs Interns: “I learned that helping is a better way to learn.” “[Because of Solar Youth] I am a more responsible person. Also, it gave me a better experience managing my time skills.” “[Because of Solar Youth] I got to have a fun job experience to be prepared for the real world.”
have learned many new things, I have met many good people, and I have gained many skills I can use in the future.” -David Roman, III (Green Jobs Intern)
“I [would] not be a better student or person without Sam and Chisom, because they are good people and it made me a better person and worker.” “[Because of Solar Youth] I learned to communicate.” “[Because of Solar Youth] I have made new friends and have explored new places. I am a little more social.” “[Because of Solar Youth] I learned more about kind[ness] and [being] respectful to others.”
What Worked Well “Intern of the Week”
Why, and Suggested Adjustments It made those who earned it feel proud of themselves. It provided an opportunity for staff to acknowledge the efforts and hard work of the intern and to give a public appreciation. Making the fourth criteria of the Performance Rubric a peer evaluation allowed for Interns to think about their interactions with their fellow Interns more. In the future, having this be weighted more than two points and consistently administered each day may allow for it to have an even bigger impact. PAGE 9
Room for Improvement Youth Advisors (YAG)
“Meet the Professional”
C-SAP vs. Activity
Why, and Suggested Adjustments The concept of Youth Advisors is great and I feel having this title kept them accountable. However, there were times when their roles were forgotten or that fellow Interns couldn’t distinguish the difference between themselves and a Youth Advisor. In the future, I think we should ensure we hold them to the guidelines outlined in the role (i.e. teaching/creating a lesson and mentoring fellow interns) While several family members were engaged in the daily activity of the program, staff would still like to help foster greater family involvement in end-of-season activities and development of their child. With so few responses, it was difficult to establish this module during the Spring 2012 season. Only one professional from the Solar Energy industry visited and it was during mid-season. If more professionals commit to this outreach opportunity then it will be more of a success. Green Jobs seems to always run into time management issues when doing both a stewardship activity and/or a C-SAP. Determining whether one will occur as opposed to both can alleviate this issue. Or, if the stewardship activities are smaller in scope, there may be more time for the interns to fully grasp the C-SAP concepts and complete it.