June 2016 News From PYO

Dear PYO Community,

This is what we have been up to lately:

Summer Interns Making Impact

We welcomed our most recent summer college interns to the PYO offices over the past few weeks and each has already hit the ground running. Each student has been tasked to help out with one of the organization’s core services – academics, programming and workforce.

Sara Shilling

Sara Shilling

Sara Shilling grew up in New Jersey but has loved having the opportunity to live in different parts of the country. After finishing her undergraduate degree at Boston University she moved to Chicago to complete an AmeriCorps service year. She worked providing street-based HIV testing and counseling for homeless and precariously housed youth and adults.

This role got her interested in community and neighborhood development and led her to a position with the University of Chicago’s Center for Youth Violence Prevention where she worked with families of kids who were at risk for experiencing violence on Chicago’s west side. She recently moved south last August to begin her Masters of Public Health at Emory University.

An internship with PYO felt like a great fit with her interests in community and youth development. She loves helping people access tools they need to succeed and become a person they are proud to be.

“I’m excited to get to know the PYO youth and spend time in Durham this summer,” Shilling said.

Tanya LaDille

Tanya LaDille

Tanya LaDille is a senior at North Carolina Central University who expects to graduate May 2017 with a BSW in Social Work. She plans to on continuing to get a MSW in Social Work following her graduation. She enjoys helping people and watching them succeed which merges into her future plans – to create a non-profit to assist and educate parents on sending their kids to college.
“While working at PYO I plan to teach the kids how to apply for free student aid, look for and apply for scholarships and to look up research information online to assist with school. I will lead by example in showing students how to be a well-rounded person. I want to assist them in any way possible. I will one of their biggest cheerleaders.”

Patience Mhlanga

Patience Mhlanga

Patience Mhlanga, a native of Zimbabwe and a student in Duke University’s Divinity School, is interning with PYO on behalf of Durham Congregations in Action. She graduated from Fairfield University in Connecticut with a B.A. in Health Communication and has also served part-time in Americorps where she mentored low-income adolescents in danger of joining gangs or dropping out of school. She has also been a math tutor for elementary and high school students and also introduced them to activities to encouraged civic engagement. She said she is thrilled and “grateful” to intern with Partners for Youth Opportunity this summer. Out of her many devotions in serving the community, her greatest passion is working with youth and she is excited that she will be able to put her skills and talents, such as data gathering and programming implementation, to work to help the PYO team and students.

“I know this is going to be a great summer,” she said.

Students Finding Jobs with Internship Sites

Now that the PYO school-year internships have come to a conclusion, it is always encouraging for students and staff to know that interns have received glowing reports and references for their work.

Keonna B. bundles store fabrics for sale.

Keonna B. bundles store fabrics for sale.

It is also promising for everyone involved when a job site extends an offer to students to come work as employees or to to stay on in some kind of capacity – often translating into true employment.

Keonna B. and Diana C. have interned with The Scrap Exchange since September and learned recently that they were hired to continue working this summer in the outreach program.

Keonna said while she enjoyed working with her colleagues and customers at Scrap Exchange, she also learned some valuable lessons.

“While interning at the Scrap Exchange I was able to broaden my social,communication and problem solving skills,” she said. She said her social skills were enhanced every time she entered the Scrap Exchange through constant conversations she had to hold with coworkers and shoppers.

“Sometimes I would be given a task that allowed me to use my personal skills and experience to get it done and through this I gained problem solving skills,” she added. “The Scrap Exchange is part of my life I won’t forget because I was introduced to new things and new beginnings.”

Diana C. stops for a snack in The Scrap Exchange break room

Diana C. stops for a snack in The Scrap Exchange break room

“I got a check list of the things I had to do every time I went in,” she said. “I would roll up fabric, tape up ribbon, organize the yarn and make sure items were in the right place. Yet after I finished doing all of those things, I would come back a while later and see some stuff disorganized already. The customers would browse, pick up some items and put it in the wrong place.”

“It taught me to have patience and it’s something I will keep with me for future jobs,” she said.

In addition to Keonna, other students were also either “re-hired” or asked to continue working through the summer including PYO college sophomore Aniyah Matthews, who went back to Dr. Gale Belvett and Southpoint Family Dentistry as well as Diego C., who continues to work at Crabtree, Carpenter & Connolly, PLLC law office.

Heading Off to College

June is here again and with it another batch of PYO students are graduating and preparing to journey off to college.

PYO currently has 23 high school seniors graduating in the next few days. More than half of our students are headed to four-year schools with the remainder heading off to two-year institutions.

Here’s a list of who is going where:

  • Yusuf S. Fayetteville State
  • Natasha G. Wells College
  • Teona M. N.C. A & T
  • Ana O. Durham Tech
  • Laura C. Durham Tech
  • Eshe B. N.C. A & T
  • Keonna B. N.C. Central
  • Xochitl C. Durham Tech
  • Au’dasia N. Durham Tech
  • Zari M. – Spellman College
  • Antoinique W. Winston-Salem State
  • LaDajia P. Durham Tech
  • Brooklyn E. Durham Tech
  • Chamiya E. St. Augustine’s University
  • Gwen P. Durham Tech
  • Kristine R. Bennet College
  • Avia D. – University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • Jem R. Durham Tech
  • Christian F. Durham Tech
  • Melisha N. – Durham Tech

Three more graduating seniors are still undecided but we’re proud of them anyway!

LCCU and PYO Celebrate Student Financial Savings

A total of 17 students, most who began the savings program last summer, and their parents came out to the credit union for pizza and drinks and to receive their award certificates for a job well done

A total of 17 students, most who began the savings program last summer, and their parents came out to the credit union for pizza and drinks and to receive their award certificates for a job well done

Now that exit interviews have been conducted and with most internships wrapped up, another work year is on the verge of closing at PYO.

The month of May was a memorable one for us and Latino Community Credit Union as we celebrated students who met their internship savings matches for the 2015-16 work year.

According to the 1:1 Fund, students who go to college with at least $500 in savings are four times more likely to graduate. With this in mind, as part of our financial literacy component, we task each of our students to save at least 20 percent of whatever they make working through PYO. Once they saved $325, LCCU, where their accounts are held, would give them a $175 match to meet the goal.

On average our students saved 40 percent of their stipend pay to a total of more than $12,000! All of which will go toward their secondary education – tuition, books, etc.

Graduating senior Zari M. worked with The Durham Arts Council last summer

Graduating senior Zari M. worked with The Durham Arts Council last summer

That evening students talked about what has been easy or difficult with the savings challenge and what they’ve learned along the way. Even more, each one took the next step in their financial journeys by transferring their savings into a Share Term Certificate (STC). Here their money will stay for the next year and continue to accrue interest – daily.

As always we give a big thanks to Sylvia Rancon, Luis Pastor and the LCCU staff and our financial literacy teacher Tolulope Omokaiye at EVOLVE Mentoring Incorporated for helping our students make this possible.

Camp Connect is Back and Refocused

Back by popular demand is PYO’s answer to the summer slide – Camp Connect!

Laura Pyatt, marketing manager of the Durham Co-op Market fixes up an inexpensive salsa made from local veggies to teach Camp Connect students healthy eating habits

Laura Pyatt, marketing manager of the Durham Co-op Market fixes up an inexpensive salsa made from local veggies to teach Camp Connect students healthy eating habits

Camp Connect is an academic enrichment camp that will help students connect the dots between home, school and the community. This year’s theme is STEADY WINS THE RACE!

The focus will be on preparing students for the upcoming school grade as well as preparing for the journey to college. Students will also explore topics such as how to balance school schedules with extra curricular activities, how to enhance organizational and study skills and how to talk with school counselors. Camp Connect will also cover non-academic topics such as managing healthy relationships and drug and alcohol awareness.

Rising juniors and seniors will focus on the selection process for post secondary education and will work on filling out the common application to schools, prep for ACT and SAT tests in the fall and research scholarships. Camp Connect will be from Mon., July 18 to Thurs., Aug. 11 from 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. Students will be required to attend one day out of each week that pertains to their upcoming grade. For example, rising seniors will be asked to participate on Mondays during camp.

For more information contact Dosali.

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Partners for Youth Opportunity  
1309 Halley Street
Durham, NC 27707 USA

Mail : [email protected]
Phone : (919) 536-4230