Summertime is a special season at SCOPE, as the office comes alive with young people. Not only do the Central-Cocoanut Neighborhood Scavenger Hunters set up "headquarters" here, but also we are joined by a cadre of teen interns (thanks this year to the Central-Cocoanut BEST Neighborhoods award, and the Man Up program). This summer, we have been fortunate to work with the following interns:
- Alexiss Wilson
- Ladarion KeJuan Williams
- Maliyah Ward
- Sheldon McCloud
- Erica Janko
These teens hail from home neighborhoods in the Newtown and University Park communities. During the school year, they also make a difference in the neighborhoods of Amaryllis Park, Alta Vista, and Ridgewood Heights (since these are the neighborhoods where the high schools they attend are located - see the attached map).
Interns have been contributing this summer to neighborhood community-building and community data efforts. Several of them are also working on the Aging initiatives of SCOPE.
These interns are making an innovative and unique contribution through the formation of the "Neighbor-teen Bloggers" as well. Each week, they provide commentary on an issue that has special relevance to our community in general. So far, the topics have included: the importance of reading, fair and just treatment, and relationships with neighbors. They share their perspectives in various ways (Q&A, dynamic powerpoints, and videoblogs to name a few). They also read relevant works (Double Jeopardy, the U.N. Convention's Rights of Children, and Abundant Community for starters), and provide commentary on these as well.
So what makes this innovative? Typically, teens share their perspectives as students, but not so much as neighbors. Also, while citizen groups, educators, service providers and policymakers often devote much discussion and effort to developing strategies for child and community well-being, kids and teens are not regularly included as active participants and contributors in these deliberations.
Stay tuned for the posting of the neighbor-teen bloggers' commentary in the near future.
The youthful perspective on community is enriching our various efforts this summer here at SCOPE. How are you noticing the presence of youth enriching our community in other ways? We've got 3½ more weeks until everybody heads back to school - let's make the most of what's left of this special season - this season when we all can benefit from the everyday involvement of kids and teenagers in settings throughout our community!