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LAYC Youth Learn About Biases Thru Music PDF Print
Monday, 26 January 2015 16:43
LAYC youth learn about biases through musical instruments. Photo Credit: SPACEs Project

LAYC youth learn about biases through musical instruments. Photo Credit: SPACEs Project

by Adam Angel, Montgomery County Conservation Corps Program Manager

Silver Spring, MD; January 16, 2015 — Montgomery County Conservation Corps (MCCC) youth took part in an “implicit bias” training that challenged what they think they believe about how they decide on their preferences. Facilitator, Dushaw Hockett, from Safe Places for the Advancement of Community and Equity (SPACES) discussed the brain science behind bias in his workshop entitled “Got Bias?” As an introductory exercise, the group of about 20 MCCC youth divided into small groups to compose short, instrumental selections using brass, percussion and other instruments. They then drew parallels between the music experience and the way that unconscious biases play out in everyday life. The argument put forth to the students to accept or reject was that we all have bias as a natural part of our human nature, and we must challenge our first preferences for people and things. These preferences when connected with positions of power and larger systems like the media, schools and courts allow groups of people unfair advantages especially where equity is directly related to the livelihood and well-being of people. MCCC youth reflected on their own possible preferences and committed to think through their first reactions. MCCC also discussed with youth ways to dismantle the systemic biases in society.

MCCC youth are working towards their GED, job readiness, and personal self-growth as they embark on a journey between five and 15 months. During this time, they are given not only what they need in terms of experience and education for the environmental and construction fields, but also the soft skills needed to navigate the 21st century workplace. Read more about MCCC here.

Last Updated on Monday, 26 January 2015 17:29
 
Donor Spotlight: Service Employees International Union PDF Print
Tuesday, 20 January 2015 00:00

by Carolyn Greenspan, Program Coordinator

The LAYC Workforce Investment for Successful Employment (WISE) program, a retail and hospitality-focused GED and workforce readiness program, wants to give a big THANK YOU to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for the donation of professional clothing to our program participants. SEIU is a labor union that unites workers to fight for better wages and benefits across three sectors: healthcare, property services and public services. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month in October- November, SEIU employees came together to support the young workers-in-training at LAYC.

Spearheading the effort was the Latino Heritage Committee at SEIU, a committee that works to celebrate, highlight, and promote the contributions of American Latinos. Shola Ajayi, one of the clothing drive coordinators, said, "SEIU and our Latino Heritage Committee were really excited to partner with Latin American Youth Center. Many of SEIU's leaders, staff, members and their families come from the communities that LAYC serves. As we work to ensure the rights and power of working class communities, it is great to partner with organizations that also empower young workers."

The group collected a huge amount of mens' and womens' business attire in excellent condition from other SEIU International staff members for the WISE professional clothing closet. Students take items from the closet to prepare for job interviews and to furnish their wardrobes once they are employed. As students prepare for the work world, the expense of purchasing new professional attire can be a challenging barrier.

After dropping off numerous boxes, Mr. Ajayi shared that more employees than ever participated in this drive. We could tell! WISE staff filled the closet with suits, button-down shirts, dress shoes, and more and still had plenty to share with the Maryland Workforce Programs in Silver Spring and Langley Park. Now our young people across the DC region will be looking sharp and feeling confident as they go after their dream jobs.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 January 2015 14:24
 
Congratulations to 10 Fall New Futures Scholars PDF Print
Friday, 19 December 2014 10:55

LAYC is proud to annoounce the fall 2014 New Futures Scholarship recipients. This fall, LAYC submitted 15 applicants to New Futures to be considered for the scholarship. Out of the 15 LAYC applicants, we are thrilled to announce that 10 LAYC youth have been awarded a scholarship to pursue their college goals! Congratulations to the winners!

Fall 2014 New Futures Scholarship Recipients:

  • Josue Duran (Career Academy/Bard Alumni): Comp Networking IT Certificate-$5,500
  • Andrea Hernandez (NextStep): AA in Graphic Design-$6,400
  • Ifechi Igwulu (MMYC/Americorps): AA in Early Childhood Education- $6,400
  • Eloy Kapote (NextStep): AA in Accounting-$6,400
  • Jose Ricardo Membreno Pinedo (Career Academy/Bard): AA in Electrical Engineering-$6,400
  • Joselin Nieto: (Career Academy): AA in Nursing-$6,400
  • Marie Negrin (2nd time Scholarship Recipient): AA in Fashion Merchandising-$2,400
  • Manuel Sibrian (2nd time Scholarship Recipient/MMYC): BA in Criminal Justice- $6,400
  • Juan Jose Sanchez (Career Academy/Bard): AA in Computer Science-$6,400
  • Karla Sorto: (Career Academy/Bard): AA in Nursing-$6,400

LAYC/New Futures Fall 2014 Scholars Total Awarded: $59,100

 
Donor Spotlight: Laura Broughton Brings Holiday Cheer to LAYC Youth PDF Print
Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:45
Laura Broughton with LAYC participants at the 2014 holiday celebration.

Laura Broughton with LAYC participants at the 2014 holiday celebration.

Laura Broughton at LAYC distributing holiday gifts to happy children.

Laura Broughton at LAYC distributing holiday gifts to happy children.

Every year, over 500 LAYC youth and families receive gifts for the holidays thanks to the generosity of a handful of community groups, companies, and individuals. Footballs, dolls, clothing, books, and skateboards filled several rooms at LAYC the days leading up our holiday celebration on December 17. LAYC staff and volunteers wrapped presents for days.

LAYC wants to extend a very special thanks to Laura Broughton who delivered gifts in-person to over 130 youth and children. Laura has made it her mission to give back to the community every holiday season for the past six years. This year, she chose LAYC as her partner in giving.

"I thought that it would be nice for kids at a local non-profit to receive a present for Christmas. What started as a small, last-minute effort to buy presents for one family grew into what we have today. This year we sponsored 135 kids. The gift drive allows people to give a way to give back to local kids and also to local nonprofits who run important programs that impact youth everyday," shared Laura.

LAYC also wants to thank loyal holiday partners, the Inter-American Development Bank, The George Washington University's Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service, HSBC Bank, All Souls Church Unitarian, and Bob Quier for their contributions.

Every year, over 500 LAYC youth and families receive gifts for the holidays thanks to the generosity of a handful of community groups, companies, and individuals. Footballs, dolls, clothing, books, and skateboards filled several rooms at LAYC the days leading up our holiday celebration on December 17. LAYC staff and volunteers wrapped presents for days.

LAYC wants to extend a very special thanks to Laura Broughton who delivered gifts in-person to over 130 youth and children. Laura has made it her mission to give back to the community every holiday season for the past six years. This year, she chose LAYC as her partner in giving.

"I got involved with a youth organization a few years ago, and wondered what we were doing for the holidays for the youth. I saw the opportunity to do something special, and so what started with a few families has grown to what we have today," shared Laura.

LAYC also wants to thank loyal holiday partners, the Inter-American Development Bank, The George Washington University's Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service, HSBC Bank, All Souls Church Unitarian, and Bob Quier for their contributions.

See more pictures from LAYC's holiday celebration on Facebook.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 December 2014 16:04
 
LAYC Youth Take on Homelessness and Gentrification PDF Print
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 17:05

 LAYC's housing and AmeriCorps programs teamed up with E.L. Haynes High School and the community group ONE DC to put on a community learning service project. With over 75 people in attendance, the event took on the inter-related issues of homelessness, gentrification, and displacement, all of which are huge realities for our center's youth. We started the day with a morning of education: participants watched a short film on the problem,and then broke up into small groups to share personal accounts of how displacement affects their lives and communities. The group reconvened to analyze why gentrification happens in the DC area as well as who benefits and who suffers from this process.

In the latter part of the day, the participants split into two groups to do something about the issues. One group went to the Barry Farms community in Southeast DC to inform residents of their rights as renters in resisting displacement from this hotly contested real estate. The other group dispersed to neighborhoods in Northwest DC to photograph how changes are happening around the quadrant.

As a closing, the groups came together at LAYC to share photos and accounts of their encounters. It was a day full of moving stories and inspiring ideas of how to take on the issues of homelessness, gentrification, and displacement through collaboration and organized action.

See more photos of the service project on Facebook

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 December 2014 17:48
 
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