Caterpillar to B-SAFE Butterfly

This has to be the best summer I've ever had with St. Stephen's Youth Programs (SSYP). SSYP has been that safe place where no matter where you might be in life the door is always open for all. I've have been through a couple of roles such as a volunteer, counselor-in-training (CIT), site assistant for the YLC program, Lead for the LEARN program and this summer I was able to be a part of the B-SAFE Summer Program as the Teen Staff Coordinator for St. Mary's in Uphams Corner and St. Augustine & St. Martin (St. A&M) in the Lower Roxbury community. I work with 23 CITs, young teens from Boston that work as tutors, mentors and role models for younger students. Teens walk through the day with young participants having loads of fun while learning in their rotations like STEM, humanities and health wellness at St. Mary's and St. A&M. Teen staff receive ongoing job training, professional development, and supervision.

Working with these 23 individuals has helped me see the importance of teen jobs, especially for the summer. All young adults should be given the opportunity to be heard, respected, valued, and supported. SSYP has made that opportunity possible. It is amazing to see the difference in their energy from the first day of training to the end of the summer award ceremony. I remember being a CIT at SSYP, feeling like the job had too much going on in one day, but now I see that this program is just the kind of exposure teens in Boston need. Here are a couple of pictures of the amazing group of teen staff and young participants I had the pleasure of working with for B-SAFE 2017.

By Priscilla Alcantara, Teen Staff Manager

Priscilla joined St. Stephens Youth Programs as a Jr. Counselor in Training in 2011 and has worked her way up to be a Teen Staff Manager for the Summer of 2017. She is a part time student in Boston studying Psychology. Priscilla is a former K-prep teacher from Bright Horizons in Cambridge and decided to get back into youth work to help the communities she grew up in.