Saturday, October 11, 2014

Intern -----> AmeriCorps Member

Paige performing with Y-WE

I’m back! So glad for the chance to be working at Powerful Voices again. This summer I was the Girls Rising intern and now am the Employment AmeriCorps Member. These first two weeks have been a blur. Settling back into to the groove of Powerful Voices culture, preparing for upcoming programs, and working at an actual desk has been refreshing (previously I’d worked standing up all day at a pizza place). Thus far, my schedule has been jam packed with training, professional development workshops and bonding time with my new coworkers.
   
Reading through our training material was surprisingly engaging. I remember thinking to myself: where else is watching a documentary that explores issues of homophobia, violence, masculinity and sexism in Hip-Hop part of the employee training manual? Where else is getting to know, and building strong relationships with your coworkers a priority? 

Nowhere I've worked, that's for certain! But, right about now I am lovin’ it. The fast pace training and program recruitment. The gratitude circles. The staff bonding retreat. All of the professional development opportunities. So grateful to be serving at such an awesome organization lead by WOMEN!

Why Am I Here?
Oh the great question...BUT at PV specifically, I am here to support our new Employment Coordinator, Shalom Cook, who recently transitioned from her role as Case Manager. PV offers stipend job readiness programs to high school age girls enrolled in the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative (SYVPI). 

When learning about these programs, I reflected back to my own experience trying to navigate a balance of school and looking for work, which for me being 19 years old now, was not too long ago. I had my first experience living on my own at the age of 17. At the time I was doing Running Start so I had been taking college classes. Luckily for me I had a safe place to stay so that I could keep going to school. Coming up with money for books and other things to get by was difficult. Finding a job with such little job experience or training on how to get a job was a definite challenge. My age and also my gender played a lot into the struggle of finding work. The little experience that I did have was mostly in manual labor and being a petite, 17 year old girl wasn't what a lot of people were looking for in terms of heavy lifting. But in reality I still had it easier than a lot of people. I had the privilege of having a support system of really good friends. I was lucky enough to have people in my life who wanted me to succeed. 

Now that my life is stabilized and I feel fully self-sufficient, I hope to be a resource for young women like myself. I hope to provide tools that will better help young women find what self-sufficiency could look like in their own lives. My hopes are that girls feel that they are not only prepared, but feel empowered to work their way up to their dreams!

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