syepallstarsFor six weeks this summer over 400 youth were given the opportunity to gain work experience, meet people, and learn new skills through the RochesterWorks! Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).

The program, offered in collaboration with the City of Rochester’s Summer of Opportunity Program (SOOP), provides six weeks of paid work experience through work sites and projects all across the county.

This year RochesterWorks!, through the SYEP program, placed 461 youth in over 43 different work sites and programs across Monroe County. Of these youth, we have chosen four to represent this year’s Summer Youth All-Stars. These youth took advantage of the opportunity and went above and beyond to learn new skills and explore future career opportunities.

Keep reading to find out what they enjoyed about the Summer Youth Employment Program!


Blake, 15
Where was your summer job?Career Ventures Program and Monroe BOCES 2
What do you want to be when you grow up?“It may sound crazy, but I have my heart set on being an astronaut. I’m really into science and I’m good at math. I am interested in space. It seems pretty cool to me.”
What was your favorite part of the summer youth program?Skilled trades and culinary. In skilled trades, I did stuff I did around the house so it was right up my alley. In culinary, I cook around the house, but I really like creating new things and then eating them.”
What is one thing you learned?I learned to solder. We used a torch to put pipes together. I also cooked several dishes, but my favorite was chili fries. My Dad really loved them too!”

SYEP2015_DiamondDiamond, 16
Where was your summer job?Culley, Marks, Tannenbaun, and Pezzulo Firm through the Law Prep Program
What do you want to be when you grow up?“I want to be a Family Court judge. It is a way for me to give back to the community. I want to give justice to the people that need me to speak up for them.”
What was your favorite part of the summer youth program?“I enjoyed the luncheon with all the different judges on hand. I like the ability to talk to the lawyers freely. I like when the paralegals and the lawyers were giving me projects to do.”
What is one thing you learned?I learned that I don’t want to be a ‘sitting-at-the-desk’ type of lawyer that deals with real estate and wills. I want to do family law or criminal law where there is more interaction with people.”

SYEP2015_KasimKasim, 17
Where was your summer job?The Seedfolk City Farm
What do you want to be when you grow up?“I love to paint and draw so I would want to do something along the lines of art or photography. I’m thinking of studying photography at RIT. At the same time, I’d like to expand my knowledge of urban agriculture.”
What was your favorite part of the summer youth program?“We had a great crew this
year. I expanded my knowledge of urban agriculture. I enjoyed the workshops around non-violent communication at the Gandhi Institute. I also like working with the younger kids.”

What is one thing you learned?“I really learned more about urban agriculture but more importantly, I learned to see things from other people’s point of view.”

SYEP2015_MichaelMichael (CJ), 16
Where was your summer job? New York State Unified Court System
What do you want to be when you grow up? “I want to be a Navy Seal when I grow up in order to get the opportunity to explore the world and to challenge myself. I believe that conquering challenges and striving to improve my character will make me a better man as I grow older.”
What was your favorite part of the summer youth program? “My favorite part of the summer youth program was going on the jail tours and when it was payday. The jail tours were an eye opening experience because I got to see things people rarely see. Also, being able to explore areas that are normally restricted was a very cool experience and feeling.”
What is one thing you learned? “One thing that I have learned while working at the court house was the importance of networking with new people and constantly communicating with my coworkers. You never know where life will lead you so it is important to get to know as many people as you can because that same person I met at the courthouse could be the same person that will hire me in the future.”

For many years, youth all across the county have had the opportunity to gain work experience through hands-on learning through professional mentors. It is an incredible opportunity that you do not want to miss out on! Our Summer All-Stars took advantage of the opportunity! Will you?

 Click here to learn more about the Summer Youth Employment Program! Applications for the 2016 program will be accepted again in the spring or follow us on Twitter (@RWforYouth) and Facebook or sign up for our monthly youth email newsletter.

 For businesses that are interested in hosting a youth next year click here to sign up for our Business Newsletter and stay in the loop for next year’s program.

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