Shantel (not her real name) is a 19-year-old single mother who last year was unemployed and not in school. She applied to and was accepted by Bridge Street’s five-month long MY BASE youth program. During the program, Shantel participated in a number of classes and workshops focused on creating resumes, preparing for job interviews, working with local elected officials, and more. She was selected as an intern by the Bedford branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and, now that she is attending college, she continues to work at the library part-time. Shantel is just one of more than 100 diverse young people from Bedford-Stuyvesant that are benefiting from the MY BASE program. Participants range from high school honors students to teenagers on probation; some are dealing with homelessness and others face the challenges of being LGBT youth.
Recent funding from NYC Department of Youth & Community Development and Brooklyn Community Foundation has allowed Bridge Street to expand its youth programming. MY BASE (the name was chosen by youth participants & stands for Motivated Youth Believing in All Self Empowerment) is a “youth civic engagement” and workforce readiness program for in-school and out-of-school young people from 14-24 years of age who are interested in public service, service learning, leadership development and/or community activism.
Participants have the opportunity to work on multiple projects and events that address the needs and concerns of young people in central Brooklyn. Projects have included Summer Camp and Parent Resource Fair; Young Adult Internship, Job and College Readiness Fair and Youth Summit. As part of the program, participants research, develop and present policy recommendations that address issues such as Political Action/Leadership, Drug/Alcohol Awareness, Youth Unemployment, Safe Space/Safe Neighborhoods, etc. to local community leaders. Young people who successfully complete the program receive a summer internship working with local nonprofit organizations or government agencies that match their career aspirations and interest in public/community service. If you know a young person who would like to participate, have them call Oma Holloway at (718) 636-7596 x218.