PYO September 2015 Newsletter

Dear PYO Family & Friends,

Here’s what has been happening within the organization lately…

Avia D. (foreground) and Xochitl C. (background) gained work experience by volunteering at the Durham Rescue Mission Thrift Store over the summer. Students learned how to complete tasks handed to them by supervisors completely and in a punctual manner -- skills that can translate to their upcoming yearlong internships.

Avia D. (foreground) and Xochitl C. (background) gained work experience by volunteering at the Durham Rescue Mission Thrift Store over the summer. Students learned how to complete tasks handed to them by supervisors completely and in a punctual manner — skills that can translate to their upcoming yearlong internships.

Introducing Adam Barnard

Adam Barnard

Adam Barnard

After interning with PYO in 2014 and acting as this past summer’s Summer Career Academy instructor, Adam Barnard has officially joined the organization as the new Director of Programs. A community resident living in the West End, his work as program director includes overseeing all programming and managing community opportunities. Some of Adam’s duties will include student recruitment, student/parent support, program design and evaluation and assuming responsibilities concerning ongoing mentor recruitment and training.

Adam is a Texas native that grew up in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio. He moved to Durham a little over three years ago to get a Masters of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School. He interned with PYO in the summer of 2014 and the summer of 2015. He is excited to continue working with PYO and having a positive impact on our youth.

When Adam is not at work, he spends his time hiking, reading and hanging out with his wife, Emily, and his dog, Chloe.

Welcoming NCCU Social Work Interns

Laquita Drinkard

Laquita Drinkard

As word gets around the community about Partners for Youth Opportunity, increasingly more people are seeking out ways to become a part of the organization. This year, PYO welcomes its newest pair of social work interns from N. C. Central University’s department of social work.

Laquita Drinkard, a bachelor of social work senior, is tasked with providing academic support to the academic coordinator, Dosali Reed-Bandele. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, but raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina for most her school years, Laquita plans on becoming a clinical social worker practicing with families and minority teens. PYO has become her field internship for the 2015-2016 academic year.

“I look forward to working with a wonderful team that’s also focused on my future endeavors while serving as the onsite coordinator for tutoring,” Laquita said. “In the meantime I will strive to make sure my time at PYO is well spent by leaving a lasting impression on the students.”

Lori Harrison

Lori Harrison

Lori Harrison, a Master’s of social work student, will be supporting Adam and Koonce in mentoring and communications work. A native of Rocky Mount, North Carolina she completed her undergraduate degree in sociology at Saint Augustine University in May 2013.

“I’m enjoying my time as an intern for PYO and look forward to the great opportunities that this agency will
bring students,” Lori said.

In her free time she enjoys cooking, painting and spending time with her family.

PYO Student Interns Beginning Work

September kicks off another school year full of opportunity for students as they begin their professional internships. Positions taken by students are typically worked in the afternoons after school and on weekends and are meant to introduce teens to potential career options that may be available to them after high school graduation.

Headed into the eighth year of what was once YO:Durham’s model, students this year have the option of working at:
PYO Desk Laughing

  • Southpoint Family Dentistry
  • MDC
  • Self-Help Credit Union
  • Lincoln Community Clinic
  • The Durham VOICE
  • Crabtree, Carpenter & Connolly, PLLC
  • Duke Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • The Scrap Exchange
  • The Museum of Life and Science
  • El Futuro
  • Kids Voting Durham
  • Mechanics and Farmers Bank

Supervisors acting as professional mentors in the job setting work with students to come up with goals for the year that not only allow for completion of work projects but give students a sense of accomplishment as they complete personal goals. Goals usually revolve around workforce compentency skills and include concepts such as better written and verbal communication, collaboration or simply an increased understanding of a particular industry. The hope is that upon the internships end, students will have a clear understanding of what it takes to be successful in demanding career settings while also gathering real world work experience that they can translate into future employment.

The mission is to provide all of PYO’s students with an experience that opens opportunity up for more of Durham’s youth. Lamon J., a senior at Jordan High School, spent the past year working with The Durham VOICE community newspaper and shared the following testimonial about his experience:

“Being with the Durham VOICE was an overall good experience. I learned how to hold a camera and take my own photos properly and then how to edit those same photos to get them ready for print or online or even for Facebook. The photo editing as well as what I learned about organizing thoughts, understanding the order in which I put my words, are two things I learned this year that I can take with me in just about any future job.”


Upcoming Fall Trip

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Sept. 19 for PYO’s annual fall trip. This year’s retreat will take place at Palmer’s Grove Community Center in Hillsborough. We will leave Lyon Park at 10 a.m. and return at 6 p.m.

PYO students spent last year's fall retreat at Carolina Friends School in Chapel Hill where they spent some time bonding, discussing resiliency and making Halloween masks.

PYO students spent last year’s fall retreat at Carolina Friends School in Chapel Hill where they spent some time bonding, discussing resiliency and making Halloween masks.

This year’s event will resemble a day camp with food, playing and continued group bonding as we explore and learn more about each other and ourselves. For more details contact Ms. Julie.

Tutoring Returns

PYO realizes that it really does take a community to raise a young person to be a productive member of society. In addition to the organization’s other academic support services, such as college visits and test prep, PYO stresses the importance of tutoring for students.

Tutoring takes place twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 -5:30 p.m., at GA Down Under on Duke’s East Campus. Last year approximately, 22 students, close to a third of total PYO students, took advantage of tutoring.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Education some facts about the importance of tutoring include:

  • Students who were tutored twice a week for one hour sessions produced strong improvements in reading skills.
  • Tutoring can also lead to improvements in self-confidence about reading, motivation for reading, and behavior, both among tutees and among peer or cross-age tutors.
  • Tutored students reported an increase in confidence and an improved attitude towards education.

Appreciating Benia Johnson

Benia Johnson

Benia Johnson

Each year there is a special college intern that comes to PYO and manages to leave a positive impression on students, staff and the organization at large. This year, PYO was fortunate enough to land Benia Johnson, a recent social work graduate of NCCU, as a summer intern. Benia, a native of Tarboro, N.C., has acted as support for graduating PYO seniors entering college and a point-person with helpful advice for other students already enrolled in higher education.

In addition to acting as a chaperone for this year’s spring trip to Valle Crucis, Benia also worked on PYO scholarship packages, financial aid issues and other preparation for graduating seniors and freshman college students still attached to the organization. Her background in working with the homeless, in particular homeless youth, have given her a unique view in how PYO is a benefit to Durham youth.

“My favorite part about being at PYO was going on the spring trip and really getting to interact with the students,” Benia said. “Being around all the students and staff has really impacted me so greatly in my development and personal growth. I look forward to getting closer with the students as I continue to work with PYO.”

Dates To Remember

PYO Students Posing

Monday, September 14

Spanish-speaking Parent Meeting
6-7:30 p.m. Lyon Park

Tuesday, September 15

Tutoring Returns to Duke GA Down Under
3:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesdays & Thursdays

Saturday, September 19

Fall Trip at Palmer’s Grove Community Center
10 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Wednesday, September 23

Starting the School Year Off Tight & Right
1:30-3:30 p.m.
Students join Ms. Dosali at Lyon Park to get the fundamental tools to be successful in school this year.

Saturday, September 26

Fall Mentor Training with James Johnson
10 a.m.- Noon Lyon Park
Mentors come out to continue training in becoming the most positive influential mentor you can be.


Carlton Koonce
Partners for Youth Opportunity (PYO)

2016-top-rated-nonprofitproud Member Top 100 Youth Blogs

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

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