SYEP: A New Kind of Summer for Local Teens

For many Seattle teenagers, the short months of summer tend to be filled with trips to the beach, hanging out with friends, and sleeping in. However, for a group of Seattle teens participating in the Seattle Youth Employment Programs’ Summer Program (SYEP), this was a summer to give back to their community and gain some professional work experience.  Here at Wellspring, we were fortunate to have several of these teen participants volunteer in our Baby Boutique and at our front desk for an opportunity to learn develop their professional skills. At the end of their summer program, we had a chance to sit down with Jiu Yiang, Kate, Hamza, Romari, and Mohammad to learn about their experiences.

Wellspring:  How did you find out about Wellspring Family Services?

Mohammad (M):  Our high school counseling center had a job posting about a paid summer internship program through the city.  One of the choices was Wellspring, and we knew about it because we live in the neighborhood.

Wellspring:  What was the best part of working for us?

Ramari (R):  Being able to help out people who really need it.  It was really cool seeing the joy on a person’s face when we helped load a car full of much needed clothes and supplies.  It put in perspective the things we take for granted. 

Kate (K): We get to help people out, and that’s important. It’s more fun to interact with people and get to know them.

Wellspring:  How has working at Wellspring helped prepare you for the professional world?

R, K, M:  Working at Wellspring has helped us improve our customer service skills.  Being in the Baby Boutique has helped us focus on helping the customers feel comfortable.  Being able to relate to people with different backgrounds will help us when we finish school and start looking for full time employment.

Jiu Yiang (J): With English as my second language, I have become more comfortable since working at the front desk. I am proud to answer the phone in English now, and am more confident in my abilities.

Wellspring: What are your plans for the future?

Hamza (H): I’d like to graduate high school, and then maybe become an engineer for Boeing. I’ve always wanted to fix things.

J: I’d like to maintain my 4.0 grade point average and go to college to study biology. I’ve already gotten four years of credit for English, so I want to keep pushing myself.

M: I’d like to graduate high school and become a computer technician. I like codes.

R: I want to play football for the University of Oregon after graduating high school.

K: I’m trying to keep my 3.5 grade point average so that I can keep getting scholarships for college. I want to go to the University of Washington.

Here at Wellspring, we are constantly grateful for our dedicated volunteers who help make a difference in our work and in our community. As Mohammad, Jiu Yang, Ramari, Hamza, and Kate prepare for this upcoming school year, we wish them all the best. To learn more about Wellspring’s volunteer opportunities and how you can get involved, click here!