EMEAC's first summer youth jobs program leaves lasting impression on Commons Space

August 23, 2012

Will Copeland addresses summer jobs youth during orientation
DETROIT – EMEAC's first Summer Youth Jobs Program came to a close on August 17 with a special luncheon in the D. Blair Theater of the Cass Corridor Commons to commemorate the work of the 12 young Detroiters who participated in the program. Jade Odoms, Janeen Reeves, Kassandra Wilborn, Shea King, Oaliyah Snell, Lonnie Hurst, Charmaine Adams, Shayla Woodard, Kieris Barkley and Zahra LeSane all participated and gave presentations on their work during the six-week program. 

“It was a great experience to have some new members,” EMEAC Youth Program Coordinator Will Copeland said. “This is our first time of doing anything in the context of a job, but one thing that was very impressive about these youth right here is that they would always do what they said they were going to do and they would always be there early. They would be there before everybody and they would be ready to go.”

The Sumer Jobs Program was co-sponsored with Reverend Jerome L. Warfield's of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church professional development program. The age range of participants was from 14-24 with youth making $8 per hour for 20 hours a week. The program ran from July 9 through August 17.
The dozen youth worked within three different areas of EMEAC programing with King, Wilborn, Snell and Woodward working with the 5 Elements Gallery and the Heru Organization in the D. Blair Theater group. Hurst, Barkley and Adams worked with EMEAC's youth group, the Young Educators Alliance (YEA) while Odoms and Reeves worked with EMEAC's Media and Communications program ReMedia. 

Reeves and Odoms with film maker Pam Sporn
Each group took turns giving presentations on their work and progress over the course of the program. Accomplishments included conducting community interviews around gentrification, renovation of McCollester Hall, renovations of the D Blair Theater, painting of the YEA logo in the ReMedia Lab, facilitating popular education workshops, videography training, audio engineering training, social networking for community organizing training and participation in regular EMEAC programming. 

“Especially when the forces were combined, these young people were very impressive,” Copeland said. “We went to a couple of community events. I said come early and they would roll up here five to seven young people deep. 

Wilborn, Snell, Matthew Cross, Bryce Smalls and Woodard
“I don't think they realize the positive impression that they made on the adults. Many of the adults had never seen anything like that before. They have so many positive attributes to make an impact on Detroit or where ever they go. It's rare to see young people with that kind of dedication. They may take it for granted but what they created from the mix of YEA and the summer jobs program was very special.”

Likewise, EMEAC's Building Manager Kim Sherrobi expressed her appreciation for the enhancements to McCollester Hall, the D Blair Theater and the ReMedia Lab made by the summer jobs program youth. 

“I've already had several people say they want to rent spaces in the building now because they came in and saw the changes these young people helped make. This is something they should always feel a part of because they've made a difference. They may not realize it but the work they've did over these past few weeks has really made a difference here at the Commons.”