How do we create the next generation of activists, community organizers, leaders, and change-makers? By introducing adolescents to the realities and struggles of marginalized communities, that’s how. One organization doing just this is the John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth.
BOSS worked with the CTY-CLI program in 2013 and 2014, and just welcomed the program back for 2015. Each year the program coordinates a group of 10-15 students and 2-3 Resident Adults to come to BOSS, volunteer a few hours of their time, learn about what we do, and how homelessness, poverty, and marginalization affects every one of us.
The CTY runs summer programs for K-12 children from all over the world to engage in various projects in 20 cities in the US as well as Hong Kong. The Civic Leadership Institute is one of their projects and is a partnership with Northwestern University’s Civic Education Project. This program places students who have completed 9th grade (or equivalent). According to the Northwestern University’s website, “the program combines hands-on education, meaningful service, powerful speakers and seminars, and an unforgettable residential experience for a summer that students describe as ‘life-changing.’”
This year the CTY-CLI kids and their chaperones came out to the BOSS Ursula Sherman Village program and painted the outside furniture, planter boxes, and the porch and stairs to the Children’s Learning Center. They also had conversations with Ursula Sherman Village Program Manager Rae Suber-Johnson, Communications Manager Jeannie Swafford, Property Operations Manager Eric Zibbel, Lead Maintenance Worker Robert Ratliff, and a couple participants from the BOSS Partners in Reentry Program (PREP).
All-in-all the kids learned a lot about poverty, homelessness, and mass incarceration, as well as how little things, like a few hours of hard work, can really improve the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community.
If you are interested in volunteering at a BOSS program as an individual or as a group, please contact Jeannie Swafford at firstname.lastname@example.org.