Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust’s Youth Action Committee holds Youth Intern Partnership Initiative orientation and match event
Teen volunteers meet their summer employers during workshops
“I want to become financially empowered, and this internship will foster my personal and professional growth.” “I would like to make improvements in our community, and I feel I have the potential to do so.” “This is the perfect opportunity for me to teach these bright volunteers how a professional environment works.”
Those are some of the quotes from local employers and excited Miami-Dade Teen Court volunteers who were chosen to work this summer for six weeks under Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) Youth Intern Partnership Initiative (YIPI). The 16 teens were paired with local business owners, elected officials, law firms and construction companies, where they will earn slightly above minimum wage rate as well as gain invaluable work experience and money management skills. This is MDEAT’s second such event, the purpose of which is to address the unemployment disparities within the Targeted Urban Areas. Perhaps one of the most poignant quote from a student, which sums up the program’s effectiveness, was, “Teen Court has been preparing me for this day from the moment I started volunteering.”
After workshops led by community leaders and MDEAT staff to teach students about work ethics, budgeting, professionalism, housing and banking, guest speakers provided Teen Court volunteers with invaluable advice that will carry them into successful careers. MDEAT Executive Director John Dixon told students, “This is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Many kids out there would give anything to be in your place today and have the chance to work with employers who can teach them from the ground up about all the employment possibilities in our community. And when your six weeks are done, keep in contact with your employer. You never know what future openings they may have and you may just be the ones to fill them.”
MDEAT Board of Trustees Chairperson Cornell Crews advised the volunteers to “Learn something every single day from your employers and co-workers. The day to stop learning is the day you die.”
MDEAT Youth Action Committee Chairperson LaTonda James emphasized to the students her life-long motto: “I’ll find the way or I’ll make one.” She added, “Don’t spend all your money. Save, save, save. Tell your friends and relatives about the benefits of Teen Court and all the exceptional opportunities it provides.”
Liberty City native, attorney and State Representative Cynthia Stafford encouraged the students to, “Try your best. Be your best. Do your best. I want a solid foundation for those who will take care of us in the future.”
City National Bank (CNB) Community Development Banker Michelle Edwards-Collie and CNB’s Personal and Small Business Banker Carlos M. Rodriguez led a terrific workshop regarding business opportunities, lending, borrowing, financial responsibility, and related fields.
High schools represented included Central, Northwestern, Coral Reef, and Law Officers’ Memorial. The event was sponsored by City National Bank and BAC Funding Corporation & Affiliates. It was held at the Lyric Theater & Black Archives Complex in Overtown.
For additional information on Miami-Dade County Teen Court or to become a volunteer, please contact Acting Teen Court Coordinator Ralph McCloud at 305-375-5661 or visit their website.