With the 2021 Summer in full swing, BronxWorks is excited to once again offer the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). After a limited Summer 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year, the BronxWorks SYEP has enrolled over 1,100 participants, placing them across nearly 80 worksites both within BronxWorks and at partner organizations. For the safety of all participants, worksites and programs are maintaining COVID-19 safety protocols, such as mask wearing and social distancing throughout the program duration.
This year, BronxWorks enrolled 763 participants from the community, 216 participants from three Bronx high schools: Frederick Douglass Academy III, Academy for Language and Technology, and Career in Sports High School, and 80 participants from the New York City Housing Authority Bronx River Houses.
Older youth participants ages 16-24 are assigned to worksites, including BronxWorks programs, and local businesses & organizations, such as New York Urban League, Summatime Studios, Ashley Stewart, and Eddington Security. As the relationship forms, worksites are asked to fill out an application detailing the nature of the work that participants will complete. A pre-assessment visit is completed by SYEP staff, and once participants are placed, Worksite Monitors conduct site-visits on a weekly basis.
The SYEP program gives young adults a great opportunity to have a summer job, gain valuable work experience, and in many cases, provide some support to their households. Coming off the COVID-19 pandemic, so many young people were excited to have this opportunity again.”
– Eileen Torres, Executive Director
Younger youth ages 14-15 years are placed in project-based learning groups of 25-40 participants. The groups decide on a theme, such as civic advocacy, social justice, or environmental issues. The groups develop projects throughout the summer, giving young people an opportunity to learn, create, and express themselves on topics that they choose and are passionate about.
A new popular SYEP placement is with Family Cook Productions, a long-standing partner for several BronxWorks programs. Family Cook Productions began to work with SYEP last year during the pandemic, providing culinary and nutrition programming for younger youth participants. Throughout the curriculum, participants learn about nutrition, healthy eating, culinary skills, and recipes to cook at home. Youth also had an opportunity to participate in the Teen Battle Chef program, where youth can display the skills they have learned, create and present recipes, and explore different cultures and the culinary world.