I’m Just Saying
In my 30 plus years of working with City, State and Community Based Organizations as a workforce development specialist, I have rarely come across a summer youth program that has achieved the outcomes of the collaboration between Phalanx Family Services and Saint Agatha’s News School. The 2017 Summer Youth Program began the last week of June and ended seven weeks later with 12 One Summer Chicago participants receiving Certificates of Completion, of which 7 qualified as Certified Citizen Journalists, receiving Media credentials and passes!
The seven week boot camp was held inside of the Saint Agatha Church, located at 3151 W. Douglas Boulevard in North Lawndale.
The intensive boot camp was held Monday thru Thursday for five hours a day and 20 hours per week.
The program started with over 20 youth who were referred from a myriad of other community based organizations thru the One Summer Chicago network, but the candidates who were referred thru Phalanx had been thoroughly screened and were anxious to take full advantage of The News School’s intense, disciplined, and unconventional curriculum.
Highlights of the boot camp experience included a trip to WTTW (Channel 11) and a daily dose of some Greek and Latin. The students who completed the program published articles and achieved a sense of accomplishment that many said they did not know they had it in them! After all, you are what you are exposed to.
The News School program is designed to cultivate and inspire young people thru a boldly inclusive platform from which a unique educational experience is delivered. The News School (TNS) boot camp program guides potential writers, bloggers, columnists and media types alike through a unique transformative process that illuminates, simplifies and intelligently connects rules that govern the art of written communication. TNS instructors empower and direct the young trainees to arrange and frame grammar rules so that they are essentially more accessible and far more fun to adopt compared to the traditional reading and writing methods they had previously been exposed to.
Upon successfully completing the program, each student is certified. The certification opens the door for them to be paid to write for any one of seven TNS publications. Youth graduates of the program are now better equipped to pursue careers as Columnists, Copywriters, Food and Arts Reviewer, Writing Tutors, Scriptwriters and entrepreneurial bloggers.
As a testimonial to their accomplishment, the graduating class produced Windy City Highlights Magazine, a class ending project that highlights each young person’s ability to write, design, and publish.
The link that follows below validates that our youth can and will learn if the proper tools and resources are in place. My hat is off to Father Larry Dowling of Saint Agatha’s and Tina Sanders of Phalanx Family Services for collaborating and providing our summer youth a unique and dynamic program model that should be administered all year round, I’m Just Saying!
Written by James Cannon