The Teen Program at Polonia Hall, located at the Matt Urban Hope Center, is devoted to supporting the at-risk youth living in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood for the purpose of enriching their lives and encouraging futures of success and fulfillment. We are dedicated to developing the youth by providing necessary supports so that they may successfully assimilate into the workforce community.
Polonia Hall is located in an extremely high needs community. Often times the youth have already experienced so much trauma that it has inhibited them for living at their full potential and they lack many social and work force development skills necessary for entering into the workforce. The Teen Program has been developed to incorporate an outlet for the youth to discuss hardships, obstacles, challenges and successes they may face. Each session will begin with a restorative circle in which will be initiated at first by the Teen Coordinator but then after some familiarity it we be led by the teens. This will help to bond the teens and provide an outlet for to express challenges and find solutions. The Teens will be fed a hot nutritious meal each day. The teens will participate in an hour of workforce development lessons. One day per week the youth will have the opportunity to take part in a workshop such as First Aid, Babysitting Certification classes or other workshops providing specific job skills and/or training. The final hour will offer enrichment activities that the teens can choose from such as Recreational Sports, Cooking, Music Production and Drama. Also, guest speakers will be provided bi-weekly to share their experiences with the teens.
The Matt Urban Teen Program with follow the curriculum developed by YouthWorks. This program addresses many issues facing urban youth today such as limited career exposure, lack of soft skills and the need for access to mainstream opportunities. The program will assist youth in clarifying their career interests and help to explore relevant careers with a written career plan; enhance communication and customer services skills; prepare for a job search and practice key interview techniques; develop a resume and thank you letters; and gain insight into workplace etiquette and culture. The JumpStart Work Readiness program provides each youth with a student manual and an online portfolio to store their resume and cover letters and provide up to date data. The Teen Coordinator and other staff will be trained in how to use and teach this curriculum to the Teens. The Teen Coordinator will schedule guest speakers and field trips that are relevant to career exploration and work-force readiness. This will provide the teens will an understanding that many people face obstacles and challenges within their lives but they can be overcome with patience and determination.
Local businesses have teamed up with the Matt Urban Center to help provide hands-on working experiences for the youth participating in the program. This partnership provides real work experience in the summer months to any youth that have successfully completed the program. In turn, this provides youth a chance to practice the skills that they have learned and gain confidence before venturing off on their own in search of a long-term job or career. These relationships bring the community closer as we work together to provide opportunity, skills and support to the youth so that they may succeed in the workforce. In turn, more youth can support themselves, they have a clear vision of their career goals and may earn a position with the business they interned for.