April 2016 News from PYO

A majority of PYO seniors woke up early on a March morning to help out at the annual breakfast held at the Ivy Community Center. Students set tables, helped serve guests, took photographs and spoke about their personal experiences with the organization before the crowd of almost 200. With the community's help, PYO was able to meet the Stewards Fund Challenge of matching dollars before the deadline.

A majority of PYO seniors woke up early on a March morning to help out at the annual breakfast held at the Ivy Community Center. Students set tables, helped serve guests, took photographs and spoke about their personal experiences with the organization before the crowd of almost 200. With the community’s help, PYO was able to meet the Stewards Fund Challenge of matching dollars before the deadline.

Dear PYO Community,

Here is what has been happening:

Hitting the Road for Spring Break

With about 80 youth on the organization’s list, and another group of new students entering programming soon, PYO will have about 100 teens later this year. The easiest way to move around such a large number of students with a small staff is to break up in “pods” and fan out.

Rising juniors and seniors stop for pictures at ECU with Julie Wells

Rising juniors and seniors stop for pictures at ECU with Julie Wells

This spring break, pods of students students who expressed interest in attending either Durham Tech or East Carolina University received the opportunity to tour the campuses and learn more about their programs. In each instance, recent PYO high school graduates who currently attend both schools gave up time in their busy schedules to walk and talk with younger students about their experiences in college. Along the way students learned about the differences between associates and more advanced degrees as well as how continuing education and certifications work in academic settings.

In addition to visiting classes, touring and talking with folks in admissions, students who went to Durham Tech got the opportunity to spend part of the afternoon at a nursing convention where they learned more about the industry. With summer right around the corner, several more college visits are in the planning.

Shifting Health & Referral Systems for Youth

Shift NC's All Together Now initiative will use information from PYO focus groups, one for parents and one for students, scheduled this month.

Shift NC’s All Together Now initiative will use information from PYO focus groups, one for parents and one for students, scheduled this month.

It’s no secret that teen pregnancy is a big deal in Durham.

According to numbers from the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics in 2014 there were more than 300 pregnancies among girls 15-19-years old or about 35 percent. The rate of repeat pregnancies among teens is about 24 percent.

With these kind of statistics and a host of other teen health issues looking the community in the face, an organization called Shift NC has partnered with PYO to hear from our diverse array of students how best to reach people in their age group, what messages concerning adolescent health services would be most effective and their impressions of health services in Durham.

The All Together Now project involves publicly funded health systems and youth-serving agencies in Durham aiming to build and strengthen health and referral systems for teens. Key youth from youth-serving agencies, like PYO, and partnering health care providers will all coordinate to come up with the best long-term outcomes to reduce teen pregnancies. Shift NC will seek parental permission for any student under 18 who wishes to take part in the focus groups.

The project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Visiting Mentor Job Sites

Keonna B. and her BCBS mentor Nicole R. share a laugh.

Keonna B. and her BCBS mentor Nicole R. share a laugh.

Keeping a strong support system in the lives of students begins with matching students to three types of mentors – job site, academic and community. These are trusted adults, vetted by PYO, who guide students along the right path whether that is in a career, at school or home.

PYO students Tony H. and Dimicio T. listen as BCBS host Cheryl P. shares her knowledge of student athletes

PYO students Tony H. and Dimicio T. listen as BCBS host Cheryl P. shares her knowledge of student athletes

At Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, the relationships between students and their mentors runs deep. During a job site visit to the company’s new campus, not far from Lyon Park off Ivy Creek Boulevard, a group of students got first-hand knowledge from several BCBS employees that mentor PYO youth and their colleagues.

Students asked questions about everything from college to careers to the real work world and everything in between. BCBS panelists in turn questioned students on their after high school plans and challenged them to be leaders of good things. There was advice about managing time and classes, being wary of the wrong peers and the importance of staying focused.

One student, Dimicio T., a promising high school athlete, got a grasp on how important good study habits are for students with dreams of playing in college at a Division I school. He had said at first he was hesitant about going on the visit but after the conversation with the BCBS crew, he was “so glad that he did.”

Summer Work Training Dates Set

The summer season is approaching quickly and with it, one of PYO’s busiest times of year.

Christian L., a Durham VOICE/PYO intern, conducts a phone interview for her most recent news story.

Christian L., a Durham VOICE/PYO intern, conducts a phone interview for her most recent news story.

As we prepare students for summer internships, it is imperative that they attend as many working sessions offered by the organization to continue ironing out resumes and laying the foundation for work. Most students who will be working have the initial beginnings of resumes and during two sessions this month, they will continue to add information as needed as well as begin learning the importance of PYO’s workforce competency skills such as communication, working with a team and information technology application.

All students who have not taken part in PYO summer work training in the past are required to meet with staff at Lyon Park Wed., April 13 and Wed., April 27 from 4:30 – 6 p.m. In these spring sessions, students will learn more about internships available to them and guidelines they need to follow concerning interviewing with supervisors.

Two more days are set for May with plans of Summer Intensive Week (freshman and sophomore students) and Summer Career Academy (junior and seniors) following soon after in late June.

Thank You Gale Thomas

Internships and work with PYO is more than a chance to earn extra money for our students. It’s also a chance to connect with professionals in the community, build a network and discover a career.

For almost ten years, Gale Thomas and personnel at Self-Help Credit Union have been supervising YO:Durham and now PYO students interested in learning more about the business, banking and finance world.

Gale Thomas

Gale Thomas

Last week, after 30 years with Self-Help, Gale was celebrated, surrounded by about 100 of her colleagues, family and friends, at a retirement party. Not only has she been a supervisor that completely understands our mission in preparing youth to be professionals and upstanding citizens, she has been a mother-figure to many as they learn about integrity and what really matters in the community.

Patricia Walker, Gale’s colleague for a number of years who also supervises students interning at Self-Help, said that she is who she is in her own position because of Gale.

“She has a beautiful spirit and her approach with the student interns was more of a mothering, nourishing and spiritual teaching approach,” Patricia said. “They not only got the opportunity to learn the different aspects of Self-Help but they were taught the importance of family, community involvement and knowing self.”

Kieara Chambers is a PYO sophomore at Durham Tech who successfully interned with Gale at Self-Help last year. She said she learned more than how to work in a professional workplace.

She learned that she has to always present herself in a sophisticated manner “even though my environment isn’t where I want to be.”

“I learned from Gale that even though things may get hard, you have to keep a smile and a good attitude because nothing can defeat you unless you let it,” Kieara said.

Dates to Remember

Sun., April 10
Ignite Day
Museum of Life & Science
Noon – 3 p.m.
A mentor and family outing to “meet a scientist” and learn more about the museum
 
Mon., April 11
Parents Meeting
Lyon Park
6 – 7:30 p.m.
 
Wed., April 13
Summer Workforce Workday
Lyon Park
4:30 – 6 p.m.
Sat., April 16
New Mentor Orientation
Lyon Park
10 a.m. – noon
Dance Class w/ Gaspard
Lyon Park
Noon – 1 p.m.
Sat., April 23
Girls Writing
Lyon Park
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Making natural beauty products for self-pampering
 
Wed., April 27
ACE My Exam Workshop
Lyon Park
1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Learn how to pass end-of-year exams with flying colors
Summer Workforce Workday
ReCity @ 112 Broadway St. B
4:30 – 6 p.m.