Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Connecting Communities to Opportunities

This year as part of the One City Summer Initiative the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp. (the Trust) employed over 20 Young Adult Coordinators (YACs) as part of its target area strategy. These YACs were deployed throughout communities across the District to work directly with residents old and young to better connect them to the resources being offered by various District agencies. DCAYA was fortunate enough to get two of the YACs to blog about their experience this summer. The following post is from Yorman Amador.

Working as a Young Adult Coordinator for the DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corps led me to view DC in a different light. For a long time, I was under the impression there were extremely limited resources available to DC residents, which was why many people I know live in conditions that could be described as unproductive. After working for the Trust, I realized the DC government offers a wide range of resources, but there is a large disconnect between people in need and access to the resources they need. Luckily, my position with the Trust gave me the opportunity to bridge that gap in the Washington Highlands community.

As a Young Adult Coordinator, I built relationships with the candy lady, mothers, men, and more than anything, the kids in the area. The kids especially looked up to me because they never experienced a young person in their community providing positive guidance. I wanted to help people use all the resources at their disposal to meet community needs, whether it was information about jobs or programs at the local library. Most of the time, people asked about jobs and childcare services in order to pick up extra work hours. There was also a great demand for mental health services. It was a summer of great memories and I was blessed to work with many young boys, who referred to me as their "father." Initially, this was awkward but I came to appreciate their form of flattery, as it was a sign that I accomplished my goal for the summer by making a difference in these boys’ lives.

I know that my job as a Young Adult Coordinator was important because there was not a day that went by when members of that community did not remind me that my last day was coming up. People loved having us in the community but they wanted the program to be extended to provide stability to the services and programs we introduced. I hope that in the near future, community based organizations and larger non-profits incorporate youth in reaching out to communities about their services year round. From my experience, this is the best way to reach people who could benefit from the services that the DC government offers.

Yorman Amador worked for the Child in Youth Investment Trust Corp as a Young Adult Coordinator during the summer of 2013. DCAYA would like to thank Yorman for sharing his experience and insights with the DCAYA membership as we work together to build a Youth-Friendly City. 

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