Congratulations to the 2012 Excellence in Summer Service Education Award Winners!
The Summer Youth Program Fund (SYPF), the first funding collaborative dedicated to supporting summer programs, recognizes 20 local youth for their extraordinary service this summer to youth programs and organizations. The SYPF is a funding collaborative that provides grants, coordinates professional development opportunities, and disseminates community information to support summer programs serving Marion County youth. The fund is most well-known for their focus on “academic leaning” that takes place in summer programming, however there are many other areas in which young people grow in summer programs. Through the Excellence in Summer Service Education Awards, the development of the skills and knowledge it takes to work in a summer youth program are of the upmost importance.
“Lilly Endowment is pleased to recognize the achievements of these youth workers who have been chosen because of their superior service in the ‘adventures’ of the Summer Youth Program,” said Willis Bright, Director of Youth Programming at the Endowment. “They have shown great ability to handle the all-too-various demands of youth work. They have been managers, referees, planners, teachers, psychologists, crowd controllers – whatever the situation called for to ensure that every day (almost every day) was meaningful to the youngsters they work with. Their summers also allow them to see the vast range of opportunities that encompass youth work, opportunities they may want to pursue professionally. Lilly Endowment encourages such experiences and exploration and is happy to congratulate the 2012 Summer Youth Program Exemplars.”
In Indianapolis, summer youth programs employ young people ages 16-21. John Brandon, Executive Director at MCCOY, Inc. (Marion County Commission on Youth) says “For many of them, this is the first experience of the world of work and having to measure up to the expectations of an employer for the first time. On top of that, their first job has put them in a position of major responsibility because the happiness and well being of somewhere between 10 and 50 children depends upon them fulfilling their responsibilities at the highest possible level!”
With the guidance of their more experienced supervisors and co-workers, these fledgling youth development professionals learn how to be adaptable to changing circumstances. China Duff, a student at North Carolina State University, spent her summer working in a local youth program, says “I learned that it all came down to building trust with youth. You really have to take the time to get all the children that you work with to trust and believe in you. Once the children can trust and believe you, they will give you the respect you want and the time together with them will be so much richer both for them and for you. Working with the children this summer has taught me that I truly belong working with children and want to help as many children as I can.”
Dontae Patterson, a student at IUPUI, also first-hand had a rewarding experience working with our communities youth. “Serving as a youth counselor at Concord Community Center has provided me the opportunity to give back to the community and be a positive presence in the lives of others in the same manner in which I received it. Every day I’m compelled to make a difference in someone’s life. Whether it’s sharing a compliment, giving a smile, acknowledging their presence, or just listening, it’s my duty to ensure every child I come in contact with is given the same opportunity.”
The Summer Youth Program Fund received 59 exceptional applications from students serving youth in central Indiana this summer. There were 20 individuals selected to receive a $1,000 educational award each to be used for school and/or educational material. However, all the applicants are champions who have forever positively impacted the youth they have worked with, mentored, coached and helped to develop.
The 2012 Excellence in Summer Service Educational Awards are:
Brittany Adkins John H. Boner Community Center
Candece Bailey Indianapolis Algebra Project
Caitlin Barringer Girl Scouts of Central Indiana
Tyrus Belcher John H. Boner Community Center
Cameray Boyden Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center
Brock Denney LifeBridge Community Summer Camp
Elise DeTrude Indiana State Museum Summer Camp
China Duff LeGore Boys and Girls Club
Corrie Herron The Writers’ Center of Indiana
Jasmine James St. Florian Center
Anastasia Johnson John H. Boner Community Center
Kenisha Jones John H. Boner Community Center
Hannah Lawrence LifeBridge Community Summer Camp
Dontae Patterson Concord Neighborhood Center
Duane Pulliam Felege Hiywot Center
Courtney Reynolds Butler Community Arts School
Yahzmine Rodriquez LaPlaza Summer Discovery Program
Violet Sharpless Horizons at St. Richard’s
Robert Webster Concord Neighborhood Center
Ronnie Wells Great Commission Church of God, Young Men Inc. Youth Ministry
Funded by a grant from the Summer Youth Program Fund.
A national model, the Summer Youth Program Fund is a partnership of 11 area grant-making bodies. It seasonally funds local nonprofits that provide much-needed safe, engaging summer fun to thousands of Marion County youth - like recreation, camping, arts, academics, college and job readiness, and cultural enrichment. SYPF recognizes the significant value of programs that engage young people in summer learning, expose youth to positive experiences, sustain health, and offer community service. It also recognizes the importance of caring adults who provide important mentoring through their dedication and sacrifice in summer months.